As the weather begins to cool, it signals that winter is fast approaching and that flu season will make it’s grand entrance any day now. That’s why VA is providing free flu shots to both Veterans and VA employees alike.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, this year’s flu shot should work well against the current strain of the flu – which bodes well for many Veterans.

IMG_0048“If true, that prediction will be a welcome shift from a year ago, when a strong, mutated flu strain was largely resistant to last year’s vaccine, catching doctors and the public by surprise,” said Dr. Risa Claytor, VACO Employee Health Center.

Health professionals like Claytor advise that now is the best time to get a flu shot, because the vaccine typically takes about two weeks to become fully protective.

“People don’t think of flu when it’s really warm outside,” she said. “But it’s better to get vaccinated now so you’re going to be protected when flu season gets here.”

This year, nearly 3 million doses of the flu vaccine are expected to be distributed to VHA facilities, slightly more than the 2.5 million doses that are standard trivalent, flu vaccine. Options for influenza immunization for the 2015-2016 season are trivalent and high-dose injection.

Doctors and public health officials say the severity of any flu season is impossible to predict.

So, as you walk into a VA Medical Center or facility around the country, you’ll be greeted with a smile, a warm welcome and this question — have you had your flu shot?

Read more about no-cost flu shot options in your community. More resources can be found at www.publichealth.va.gov/flu.

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Published on Nov. 6, 2015

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