It’s November, it’s chilly outside, and unfortunately—flu season is here.
Every year, a new type of influenza, or flu, vaccine is released.
Mary Thibault is a nurse at the Public Health Center. She says it’s important to get vaccinated early.
“You know, it’s hard to predict what kind of a flu season [it will be]. There was a rash of outbreaks in the Anchorage area last month that people were getting a little nervous about. So, you don’t want to wait until there’s an epidemic and the flu vaccine is less available,” says Thibault.
The vaccine works by helping a person’s body make antibodies for certain strains of the flu virus, which then protect that person from becoming infected.
Typically, it is what’s known as a trivalent vaccine—meaning it targets three strains of the flu.
This year, there is also a quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four different flu viruses.
The Wrangell Public Health Center is carrying this quadrivalent vaccine. One of the strains it vaccinates for is the California H1N1 virus, popularly known as swine flu.
There is a fee for the vaccination, but Thibault says, this year it will be easier for some people to get it.
“The Public Health Center in Wrangell and others around the state are offering to waive the administrative fee for the flu shot so that is a $28 charge,” says Thibault.
Thibault says there are some eligibility requirements that people need to meet to have the fee waived.
However, children who are six months to 35 months old are always eligible.
The waiver is good through December 31st but the shot is available through next year.
To find out if you are eligible to have the fee waived, contact the Public Health Center at 874-3615.