Flu vaccines in short supply

Wednesday May 27, 2015 Written by Published in Health
CI News’ Sarah Wilson got her fl u vaccine on Monday from Shannon Saunders at the CITC Pharmacy in Avarua. CI News’ Sarah Wilson got her fl u vaccine on Monday from Shannon Saunders at the CITC Pharmacy in Avarua.

With ongoing rain and cold periods forecast for the Cook Islands, it’s the perfect time for residents to protect themselves and their families against the flu.

But if you want to guard against the flu you’ll have to get into CITC pharmacy quickly, as only 40 out 580 vaccines remain. 

The pharmacy is offering the influenza vaccines for $35 and pharmacist, Shannon Saunders say the price is well worth it.

“It’s really important to protect not just yourself, but also your family from being brought down and bed ridden with the virus,” she says.

Saunders says the flu is likely to be spread even easier with the colder, rainier weather keeping people cooped up indoors.

“You don’t get the flu because it’s cold or wet, you get the flu when you’re in close proximity to other people who may have it.”

Saunders says the most important reason to come in and get the vaccine is to not only protect yourself, but others around you.

“You might be healthy and fit and may recover from the flu quickly, but you could also pass it on to someone a lot weaker than you and they may not fare so well,” she says.

For this reason, Saunders says a community effort is needed with everyone, healthy or weak, getting on board. 

Saunders says this year’s vaccine covers four strains of the influenza virus, which had to be reformulated due to a nasty strain that circulated the Northern Hemisphere in the later part of their winter. 

Of the 580 that arrived in early May, 50 were purchased by the Ministry of Health, and another 220 were ordered by other companies or ministry departments for their staff. 

Most of the rest have been taken up by individual community members and families.

People are encouraged to call ahead to book one of the vaccines to ensure they don’t miss out.

Saunders is urging people not to be swayed by the myths relating to vaccines and anyone who wants more information should visit www.fightflu.co.nz.

One of these myths is that people can get the flu from the vaccine.

Shannon says this is simply not true and that while you may get mild flu-like symptoms, they won’t last longer than 24 hours. “The flu vaccine you get is comprised of dead flu cells which get put into your system to show your body what the flu looks like, so it can fight it better if it sees it again.”

She is also encouraging people to call ahead and order a vaccine for next year to ensure they get the right number of vaccines shipped in next time. 

Unfortunately, anyone who is allergic to eggs will be unable to get a vaccine.

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