Flu Season Preview

Small supply with big demand was the case last flu season when more than 150 children died nationwide; many who had not received flu shots. Although advised especially for children and the elderly, flu shots were very limited last year when parts of the nation were hit with an unexpected flu epidemic. This included the Twin States.

Will such be the case this year? Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta say no, despite a delay in filling orders after a tainted batch of the vaccine was discovered last month. With this being the case, local officials say they project that the vaccine should be available in Meridian within a matter of weeks.

"Around the end of October and the first part of November."

Dr. Adrienne Shuler is a pediatrician at Greater Meridian Health Clinic. She says once the vaccine arrives, those most susceptible to contracting the virus, such as the very young, the elderly and those with immune deficiencies should get the shot. However, that's not all.

"If you're going to be around anybody very young or very old, you should also get the vaccine."

For those afraid of the sting of the stick or needle that is, Dr. Shuler says perhaps a relatively new flu vaccine spray is the answer.

"They say it's effective, but it is a live vaccine. It's actually the flu but a lesser strain. It doesn't hurt but people with compromised immune systems cannot take it."

Meanwhile, if things go as planned, shipments of this year's flu vaccine should arrive in the Twin States in October and be available by the start of flue season at the end of the month.