It's Not Too Early For A Flu Shot

MARPLE TWP., Pa. - September 9, 2010

Maybe you've seen the signs in the drug stores, or gotten a phone message from your health insurer.

Independence Blue Cross sent one to members 2 weeks ago, telling them, "It's time to talk to your healthcare provider about getting the combination H1N1 and seasonal flu shot."

The drive is definitely on to get americans to roll up their sleeves for flu shots now, rather than waiting until October or November.

At this time last year, many colleges were struggling with H1N1 flu.

Jeannette Mathis of Southwest Philadelphia is a big believer in flu vaccinations.

As she told us, "Every year, never missed one. I hope to be in the first batch!"

Jeannette works at one of the hospitals where flu shots are required this year.

She says it will not only protect her patients, but her young sons Ethan and Victor, and the 3 grandchildren in her home.

Starting this year, the government wants everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated.

Dr. Joseph Greco, of Main Line Health, describes the tactic, "The idea really is to create "herd immunity," so you vaccinate the whole herd and there's less chance of spread around other people who think they're not going to be exposed to the flu."

Dr. Greco says a vaccination now should provide immunity through springtime.

Walgreen's pharmacies are selling a flu shot gift card, to help those who lack the money, or need a friendly nudge, to get the shot.

Patricia Jacob, a nurse practitioner with their Take Care Health Clinic, told us, "Family members who want to give the gift of a flu shot will definitely help to protect them this season."

Supermarket flu shot clinics start next week. Giant food stores have a flu shot clinic locator on their website. Most hospitals began making the vaccine available on September 1st. Public health departments have received vaccine shipments, and are making them available to regular patients. They will begin their mass vaccination clinics by early October.

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