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October 13, 2011

Change of season heralds need for influenza vaccination

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reminds Montanans that influenza season is right around the corner. 

And, the recent cooler weather will drive people together indoors, making passing germs much easier. 

DPHHS recommends influenza vaccination for everyone older than six months to fend off viruses that can lead to serious health problems.  DPHHS encourages annual vaccination because it is the safest and most effective method to prevent influenza infections.

“People who received influenza vaccine last year should get vaccinated again this year,” said DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell.  “And, if you weren’t vaccinated last year, we urge you to get a shot or the nasal spray now.  We’d like to make sure everyone can stay healthy this winter.”

This year's seasonal influenza vaccine provides protection against the same virus strains as did last year’s vaccine.  This includes protection from the H1N1 influenza virus strain that caused the 2009 influenza pandemic.  Protection provided by vaccination lasts throughout the entire flu season, even when vaccine is given in early fall.  A new dose is needed every year to keep up active defense against viruses.

“I especially encourage people who have chronic medical conditions to get vaccinated now,” said Whiting Sorrell.  “Those with health issues, young children and senior citizens, are the most at risk for complications, or even death, from the flu.”

People wanting to get immunized, or have their children vaccinated, should consult their health care provider.  Vaccinations are available at doctor offices, county or tribal health departments, and many pharmacies.

There are two types of influenza vaccines; the “flu shot” given with a needle, and a nasal-spray flu vaccine.  Vaccination is recommended for all persons 6 months and older.  A nasal spray formula is available for healthy people 2 through 49 years of age.  Both vaccination methods provide the important protection that helps people stay healthy.

Page last updated: 07/30/2013