The flu is hitting Alaska hard this winter. KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver has more on getting vaccinated.
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Every year, a new type of influenza, or flu, vaccine is released.
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.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that there have been two confirmed deaths in the state this month caused by the H1N1 virus.
It also reports there were more than 200 confirmed cases of the flu in Alaska in December.
Public Health Centers across the state are offering a waiver to cover the cost of this year’s vaccine.
There is a $28 fee for the flu vaccine at the Wrangell Public Health Center. The waiver covers that fee for people who meet certain eligibility requirements.
However, children who are six months to 35 months old are always eligible to get the vaccine at no cost.
The initial deadline to apply for the waiver was late December, but that has been extended through March.
For more information or to find out if you meet the eligibility requirements for the fee waiver, contact the Public Health Center at 874-3615.