October 24, 2021

Health officials: It’s time to get flu shots

Cortland County health officials said flu vaccinations are in full swing after some manufacturers thought they might be delayed in producing the shot.

“Originally manufacturers said there might be a delay because it took them until March to determine the strain of the flu the vaccine had to fight, but it seems as if things are flowing fine now,” said Catherine Feuerherm, the director of the county Health Department.

Each year, groups including the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration, review the different flu strains and determine the three or four that will be prevalent and therefore, need to be covered by the vaccination for the year.

However, this year the World Health Organization selected two of three strains to be covered but held off on selecting the third strain until late March, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because it held off, the CDC said it is too soon to tell whether that will affect production of the vaccine. It was the first time since 2003 that a delay in choosing the strains to be covered had happened.

“Private manufacturers in the United States produce flu vaccines each season,” the CDC said on its website. “Once the viruses are selected for the new vaccine formulation, manufacturers operate under a tight timeline for producing, testing, releasing and distributing flu vaccine. CDC and other federal partners will continue to coordinate and collaborate with U.S. flu vaccine manufacturers to monitor production and vaccine availability timelines.”

However, Feuerherm said she already has some children’s vaccines and expects a shipment of the vaccine this week. She also said pharmacies have the vaccine.

“I think that original thought that there might be a delay didn’t really pan out,” Feuerherm said.
The CDC said manufacturers are projecting they will produce between 162 million and 169 million doses of the vaccine for the U.S. market. However, they noted that number can change depending on the flu season.

Flu season tends to start in October and goes until March, with data from the CDC showing February tending to be the peak month for flu activity.

Preventing the flu

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. n Clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat healthy food.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention