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Flu season approaching, vaccinations recommended

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Flu season isn’t something to take lightly.

Indiana’s health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to get their flu shots soon because flu cases are already appearing around the state.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says Indiana residents should “take steps quickly to protect themselves and their loved ones” because the flu can be deadly.

Since the 2014-15 flu season, nearly 800 Hoosiers have died from flu-related illnesses. Vulnerable populations include the elderly, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccinations be offered by late October. It takes about two weeks for protective antibodies to develop in the body. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

Flu shots can be obtained through primary care providers and many pharmacies. Although most places offer only a few types of vaccines, there are around nine different flu vaccines depending on age and how it is to be administered.

Pharmacist Kristi Martin of CVS Pharmacy urges local people to get their shot sooner rather than later.

“It is important for everyone to have a flu shot; however, specific members of the population who are more at risk have an even higher priority, including young children, those 65 and over, pregnant women, and those with other health complications. The idea is to not only prevent illness but also to prevent potential hospitalizations, lost wages from work absence and potentially death.”

Anyone 6 months of age and older can receive the flu vaccine, Martin said. For those younger than 6 months, flu protection can be achieved by vaccinating their caregivers.

As far as costs, each person will be different and there are different types of flu shots, depending on availability. 

“Most insurances will pay 100% of the flu vaccine cost,” Martin said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Where and how much?

Kroger: $40 to $60

CVS Pharmacy: $39.99 or $31.08 with discount card

Fayette County Health Department: $20

George's Pharmacy: $25 (on back order now)

Wal-Mart: $40

MediCenter Pharmacy: $25