Health Department provides vaccination clinic to area schools

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"The best way to safeguard yourself from the serious health risks posed by the flu virus, is to quite simply, get vaccinated", said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. Generally speaking, flu season starts in October and peaks around January or February, but it's not too early to get the flu vaccine, they said.

The CDC is recommending everyone 6 months old and older get a flu vaccination. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the shot, and there is the rare occasion when a person will become ill during that period of time.

Getting a vaccine doesn't mean you won't get the flu, but if you do get sick it could be less severe, experts say.

During the latest flu season, 227 people, including five children or teenagers, died, making it the deadliest season for which the state Department of Health has records, Haselow said. "Even if there's a less than ideal match against one virus, the vaccine may protect against other viruses".

Flu vaccines are either made from inactive or weakened live viruses, depending on the method of manufacturing and delivery.

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Because CDC wants people protected if flu breaks out early, "October as a rule of thumb is not unreasonable", she said. Isn't the flu vaccine supposed to protect you from the flu, not give it to you?

Dr. Ford says the flu hasn't hit her waiting room yet. Customers get a $5 off $25 coupon when they get the shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic.

In addition to the quadrivalent flu vaccine, the health department will soon be offering the high-dose flu vaccine for $70 per dose. The Affordable Care Act required insurers to cover the cost of patients' flu shots without charging a copay, although some insurers only cover vaccines given by doctors or at certain locations.

Pregnant women and those with a chronic health condition are also considered high-risk for complications from influenza. During last winter's flu season, vaccines barely worked at all in keeping seniors out of the hospital, with roughly 24 percent effectiveness.

According to the CDC, flu viruses are most common in fall and winter. A recent study showed that an adult who got ill in spite of getting vaccinated had a 59 percent lower chance of being admitted to an intensive care unit than someone who did not get vaccinated.

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