New vaccine offers additional protection against flu virus
10/11/2013 - The Register-Herald. By Brandi Underwood.
BECKLEY - When it comes to getting a flu shot for the upcoming cold months, there’s no time like the present, said Candance Hurd, director of nursing at the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department.
With a new flu vaccine available this season that offers recipients even more protection against the common cold-month illness, the BRC Health Department hopes that fewer people will be infected with the nasty flu virus this year.
Contrary to prior belief, it is never too early in the season to get a flu shot, as they take two weeks to become active in one’s system and stay active for several months.
“Now is the right time,” Hurd said. “Getting it now is going to get you protected by the end of October.”
Hurd said that flu usually peaks in West Virginia around January, but it is also impossible to predict when flu will peak this year.
“It could be an early flu season. This is why it’s important to get vaccinated now,” Hurd said.
This year, a new vaccine was released, called quadrivalent, which protects recipients from an additional type B flu strain.
“We’ve always had the trivalent shot, which protected against two type-A flu strains and one type B,” Hurd explained.
“With the new vaccine, instead of being protected against three strains, you’re going to be protected against four strains,” Hurd said.
The BRC Health Department is only offering the quadrivalent shot this year, but Hurd said that the other vaccine types can be located at doctors’ offices and pharmacies around the county, ranging from latex-free, trivalent (three-strain), quadrivalent (four-strain), a nasal spray vaccine and a high-dose shot.
“You just need to be a smart consumer and look into what you feel is going to be best for you,” Hurd said.
Hurd explained that flu vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, but there’s always a special emphasis on the very young and the elderly, because they are more likely to develop complications from the flu.
“Any type of flu vaccine is going to be a good thing. If you’re not sure, or you can only get one type (of vaccine), take what is available. It will offer you protection,” Hurd said.
So far, several hundred flu shots have been administered at the BRC Health Department.
The BRC Health Department is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and walk-ins are welcome.
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Hurd also added that a limited supply of the shingles vaccines for seniors is also available at the BRC Health Department for $10.
“We have a limited supply available for seniors 60 and older whose insurance doesn’t cover the vaccine,” Hurd said.
Traditionally, shingles vaccination costs more than $200, Hurd said.