Local health departments stock up on new flu vaccine - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Local health departments stock up on new flu vaccine

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The fever. The aches. The pains. Believe it or not, flu season is right around the corner.

A new kind of vaccine protects against four strains of the flu virus instead of just three.

Manufacturers will produce more than 135 million doses of the flu vaccine this year but only 30 million of those will protect against four strains.

Every year scientists try to predict which strains of the flu will make their rounds but they don't always get it right.

"There are cases where the flu vaccine just doesn't build up your immunity well enough and we saw some of that last year where people who had the flu vaccine still got sick with the flu," said Pitt County Health Director, Dr. John Morrow.

But while it may not totally prevent you from getting sick, Dr. Morrow says the flu vaccine almost always protects you from having serious complications or dying from the flu.

In an average year, the CDC says the flu kills 24,000 Americans and 200,000 more are hospitalized. That's why several healthcare centers in the east, including Vidant and Carolina East, now make it mandatory for employees to get vaccinated.

The new four-strain vaccine is supposed to have broader protection. It's available to everyone but is aimed especially at children and older people who are more prone to getting sick.

Because there is a limited supply, you may not be able to find the newer vaccine everywhere. Doctors say you shouldn't wait. The three-strain vaccine is still effective.

Even if you're not at high risk…

"You need to get a vaccine to protect those people who are at higher risk that you may be around," said Dr. Morrow.

Just last week the American academy of pediatrics recommended that children six months and older get their flu vaccine as soon as possible. If you have any questions just contact your local health department.

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