Every year the flu season brings new and unpredictable results. Last year’s wave was no different, affecting record-breaking numbers of infected citizens. The H1N1 virus struck people all across the country. Perhaps no flu season in recent memory has been as hyped, leading to a shortage of vaccines, long lines of angry, frustrated citizens and the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years. These pandemics occur when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads across the world at a time when most people don't have immunity to that particular strain.
This year’s flu season may be as unpredictable as last year’s, but there’s no way of knowing exactly, as different strands of the virus may appear that may not be accounted for. The most important thing to do is make sure you get your seasonal flu shot. As a new flu season nears and student’s head back to school, the latest vaccine — which protects against three strains of flu — is expected to circulate in months ahead.
Flu shots are available at Health Services, where they are free for students and $15 for faculty and staff. They also have H1N1 shots, which are free for students, faculty, staff and families. A plan is in place for the Type A influenza vaccine, which is expected to be available at UWG in mid-October. This plan will include students, faculty, staff and their dependents, and the details of the plan will be distributed once the vaccine is on hand. Printed influenza information cards and posters are being widely distributed throughout campus, providing illness prevention suggestions. It is important to get your flu shot as soon as possible because there is no way of knowing what this flu season has in store.
Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February. Flu.gov reports that as many as 160 – 165 million doses of the vaccine will be available from licensed manufacturers in the U.S. during the 2010-2011 flu season.
Flu viruses are constantly changing, even within the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time. Because of these factors, there is always the possibility of a less-than-optimal match between circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine. However, you can still try to stay ahead of the game by getting your flu shot today.