Residents encouraged to get flu shots now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

There isn’t a set time to get a flu shot, one local physician said recently.

Dr. Jonah McIntyre of ACH Primary Care said the right time to get a flu shot is when they become available.

“You can get a flu shot at anytime,” McIntyre said. “After you get a flu shot, it takes about two weeks for your body to build an immunity to be affective.”

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McIntyre said flu shots start becoming available in August in some pharmacies.

When asked how important it is to get a flu shot, McIntyre said there are two answers.

“The short answer is that it is very important,” he said. “The long answer is that we recommend that every one over the age of 6 months get a flu shot unless they have an allergy or compelling reason not to take it.”

Like most living organisms, the flu virus mutates and companies are creating new flu vaccines, McIntyre said.

“The flu virus mutates in the far east in pigs and chickens,” he said. “Then, there are new strains that are developed that become infectious to humans. What companies do is go over to the east to China and Hong Kong, and see what strains are getting people sick.

“Then, they pick three or four strains that they anticipate will make a jump over to us in America,” he said.

From there, the flu strains are then made into vaccines for humans, McIntyre said.

McIntyre said there are two different shots people can get — a trivalent and quadrivalent vaccine.

There are three strains of the flu virus in the trivalent shot, and four strains in the quadrivalent shot.

Another effective way to get a flu shot is through flumist.

McIntyre said flumist is administered through the nasal cavity and contains a live flu virus instead of a dead virus in a shot.

“It’s mostly for kids,” he said. “If you have an allergy to some component you can get it.”

McIntyre said he’s heard of people saying that they get the flu because of the shot. However, that’s not true, he said.

“People do often feel achy a few days afterward,” he said. “It’s just the body’s immune response to the virus. It’s impossible to get any type of infection from the vaccine. You can take Tylenol or motrin (Ibuprofen).”