Flu season is fast approaching

Vaccines available at multiple area pharmacies

Mike Baggerman
September 16, 2019 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - In recent weeks you may have noticed various pharmacies promoting that it's time to get the flu shot.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein is among the health experts that urge you to get this year's vaccine despite the lack of data that said how effective this year's vaccine is.

"Whatever that number is, it's going to be greater than zero," Burstein said. "That's just one tool we have in our toolbox to protect ourselves from influenza."

Burstein said that it's never too early to get the vaccine and most pharmacies and physicians already have the latest vaccine. She's reluctant to use the term "shot" because there's options that you have that don't involved being poked by the needle.

"There's also a nose spray for people who are adverse to needle," she said.

This year's flu vaccines protect against multiple strains of influenza. Burstein said the varieties help boost immune response in certain individuals, such as seniors.

If you're one of those people who are reluctant to get the vaccine out of fear you'll get the flu as a result of the vaccine, Burstein said it's biologically impossible because the vaccine is a synthetic and doesn't actually put the virus inside you.

"It's just proteins that look like viral components of viral particles," she said. "It's very safe and very effective."

Peak flu season will be in January and February for the influenza A strain. There's another spike in the early spring.

Read more about the influenza virus from the Erie County Department of Health.

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