Another option for flu shots this year


Staff report - galnews@aimediamidwest.com



CRAWFORD COUNTY — As summer ends, flu season begins. Crawford County Public Health remind residents that getting vaccinated against the flu is still the single best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick with the flu.

But when it comes to flu vaccines, it is important to know exactly what you are getting when you get that shot in the arm. After all, if you are going to go through the trouble of getting a flu shot, you may as well make sure you are getting the best available option , the one that is best for you.

Crawford County Public Health now provides Flublok, a recombinant, quadrivalent influenza vaccine that is proving to be more effective than standard, egg-based quadrivalent vaccines. Unlike other flu vaccines, Flublok does not use the influenza virus or eggs in its production. Instead, it uses a more modern technology, used for many years to make other vaccines approved by the FDA, that has been approved to create flu vaccine since 2013.

By using modern, recombinant data technology, Flublok eliminates the need to grow influenza virus during manufacturing with the use of eggs. Therefore, it is not subject to the mutations that can sometimes be introduced into a vaccine during production that can decrease effectiveness. Flublok quadrivalent vaccine contains three times more antigens than a standard-dose quadrivalent influenza vaccine, and studies have shown it can produce significantly higher immune responses.

Flublok is highly purified and does not contain influenza virus, antibiotics, formaldehyde, preservatives, egg protein, latex, gluten or gelatin unlike other flu vaccines. Flublok is FDA approved for adults 18 years of age and older.

“We have been watching Flublok for a few years, monitoring the effectiveness and safety of this vaccine, said Crawford Couny Health Commissioners Kate Siefert. “When it first came out in 2013, it was only offered as a trivalent vaccine. In 2017 they improved it and it is now a quadrivalent vaccine.

“I’m excited our agency is bringing this option of a flu vaccine to Crawford County. Many people think that there is only one option for flu vaccines, but there are actually several. No matter where you go to get your flu vaccine, you should always ask what type of flu vaccine you are getting.” Siefert said. “As someone who isn’t a fan of needles herself, but always gets a flu shot every year, I want to make sure that if I’m going to go through that anxiety of being in the same room as a needle that what I am getting is worth it. After gaining confidence in the effectiveness and safety of Flublok, the option of bringing Flublok vaccine to our office definitely appealed to me.”

Crawford County Public Health will be offering both the standard vaccine and the Flublok vaccine. Both are quadrivalentvaccines designed to protect against four different flu viruse santicipated by the World Health Organization: two influenzaA viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Having four strains in the vaccine aims to give broader protection against circulating flu viruses. Anyone age 6 months and older can receive a standard vaccine and those ages 18 years and older can choose between standard or Flublok vaccines.

Amy Ramirez, Director of Nursing at Crawford County Public Health, emphasizes that we try to make it as convenient as possible to get a flu shot.

“On Wednesday, Oct. 7, we will have our annualDrive-Thru flu clinic at our office, 1520 Isaac Beal Road, in Bucyrus. You won’t even need to get out of your car when you swing through our parking lot between 3 ando 6 p.m., roll down your window, and let our nurses protect you from the flu. This is a great option for families with young children in car seats, people with mobility issues, or even those that just want to get the flu shot over with as quickly as possible.”

Crawford County Public Health also has vaccination clinics every Thursday in Bucyrus,with the second and thirdThursday of the month offering convenient evening hours until 6:30 p.m.. A clinic will also be held in New Washington Oct. 21 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Call ahead to schedule a time convenient for you to ensure you will not need to wait long.

No matter which clinic option you choose, please bring along yourhealth insurance cards. Most insurances will cover the cost of the flu shot. CommissionerSiefert further adds, “

“Don’t avoid getting a flu shot just because you don’t like shots,” Siefert said. “The minor pain of a flu shot is nothing compared to the suffering that can be caused by the flu.

”There are two reasons for getting a flu shot each year: flu viruses are constantly changing so you need the most current season’s vaccine for the best protection, and your immune protection from the vaccine declines over time which means an annual shot is your best protection.”

For more information on protecting yourself and your family from the flu and to schedule your flu shot, contact Crawford County Public Health at 419-562-5871. To keep up with current events and public health information, follow Crawford County Public Health on Facebook.

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Staff report

galnews@aimediamidwest.com