Get your flu shot, don’t rely on mist
Public health officials are urging people to stop by their local doctor’s offices, pharmacies or public health department offices to obtain their annual flu vaccinations this fall. An annual flu vaccine is still the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses for everyone 6 months and older.
While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common in a given year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts vaccine effectiveness studies each season to gauge the success of a vaccine in preventing the flu virus.
The CDC recently announced that the live attenuated influenza vaccine, known as nasal spray or FluMist, should not be used during the 2016-17 influenza season.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to change its recommendation regarding the use of the FluMist after data showed poor or relatively low effectiveness from 2013 through 2016. Data on the effectiveness of the nasal spray among children ages 2-17 during the 2015-16 season found its efficacy to be inadequate. By comparison, data found that injectable vaccines, or flu shots, proved to be highly effective in preventing flu among children in this same age group.
This change in recommendation highlights the importance of ongoing efforts to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines to ensure the public is optimally protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. The CDC continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with the inactivated influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months and older for the 2016-17 flu season.
Garfield County Public Health is offering walk-in flu vaccination clinics from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Carbondale Branch Library; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Oct. 18 at Downtown Drug in Glenwood Springs; from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 22 at the Rifle and Glenwood Springs Public Health offices; and from 1-4:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Family Resource Center in Carbondale.