Help keep the flu off the holiday party guest list: Get vaccinated


For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554. The flu usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.

Most Oklahoma cases involve those age 50 or older or those four and younger.

The groups medical professionals say are at risk for the flu, older people and pregnant women.

There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness.

Doctors typically look south to get an idea of what's coming.

There are now specially-designed flu vaccines for seniors, meant to protect older people who face an increased risk from influenza.

Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases.

Being vaccinated better protects not only the individual, but also everyone around them.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection.

"I think we're in for a really bad winter and a really heavy flu season", said Dr. Jatinder Sachdev of American Family Care.

She urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare to put the plan on hold until it has evaluated demand for the vaccines and secured funding to cover the costs of sourcing, delivering and administering them. "There's still some protection against all flu illness in Australia last season".

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, said that vaccine effectiveness is not a simple measure.

But she said it's too early to predict what strain will predominate or how severe the season will be.

"When we measure vaccine effectiveness, that's effectiveness against protecting against disease completely", said Schaffner, who was not involved in the CDC research, though he is a liaison representative of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which develops recommendations on the use of vaccines for the CDC.

The OSDH reminds the public that there are still several months left in the flu season.