80-thousand people died from the flu last winter, including hundreds of people here in Hawaii. Now the CDC is urging people to get their flu shots now, but is it too early?
We’re starting to see pharmacies and workplaces administer the vaccine now. It’s good to be prepared because like what Dr. Theresa Wee tells us, you can’t really predict what kind of flu season we’ll have this year.
Here in Hawaii during the 2016-2017 season, a little more than 9-thousand people tested positive for influenza. That number went up in the 2017-2018 flu season with more than 12-thousand, with 490 deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza.
The state health department tells us it’s not a concerning trend compared to previous seasons, but that doesn’t mean Hawaii should let their guard down.
“We are the crossroads. People stop here from Asia, Canada, and the mainland. So if anything, we are the melting pot of germs,” said Dr. Theresa Wee of Wee Wellness Center.
Dr. Wee says there’s no harm in getting your flu shot taken care of now, especially when it takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to kick in.
“Not too early. In fact, our entire staff got it two weeks ago. So we’re preparing for this upcoming flu season,” she said. “The effectiveness of the vaccine will last through this flu season.”
CDC recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October but you should do it before it’s too late.
“You can continue to get the flu vaccine well into January,” said Dr. Wee. “If you go in January, February, or March, they may run out.”
It’s not recommended to get two flu shots, but if you accidentally get two Dr. Wee says it shouldn’t harm you.
“It does get confusing because so many different places are administrating it. So it’s really a good idea to write it down,” said Dr. Wee. “If you were to get a second one, it might be considered a booster dose. It’s a dead vaccine, so it’s not going to harm you. It may boost your antibody response; however, insurance may not cover for a second one so you do have to be careful about that.”
You’ll probably won’t see any nasal mist this flu season because medical experts found that it wasn’t effective enough.