Flu shots plentiful, perhaps lifesaving

Learn why the director of the state’s largest independent flu shot provider says why you should get your shot now ‚Ķ

Reporter David Ashton heeds the advice of Steve Allred, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director of GetAFluShot.com, and takes his flu shot medicine.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Ouch! No one likes getting a shot! But medical experts say that the shot’s momentary discomfort can prevent days of illness, or death, when the flu bug comes to visit.

Flu immunization vaccine has been in short supply for the past three years. We checked in with Steve Allred, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director of GetAFluShot.com, about this year’s supply.

“Vaccine outlook is good,” Allred told us. “We’ve already received a large shipment, and have launched our community flu shot clinic sessions.”

Both in Portland, and nationwide, Allred said, more vaccine than ever before will be available. “There aren’t the shortages we’ve had to deal with for the last couple of years. Anyone who wants a flu shot can get one.”

We asked about the quality of the vaccine. “We’ve always gotten top-quality vaccines,” he said. “The question in past years has been the quantity. Some of the manufacturers are slow in getting product out. Some providers won’t have vaccine until in November.”

Timing is right
October through December is the best time to get a flu shot, Allred explained. “But, the CDC says even in January, those who are not vaccinated can benefit from having a flu shot.”

Flu shots can be lifesavers
Influenza affects as many as twenty percent of the population every year.

“A flu shot reduces the likelihood of contracting Influenza by 70% ‚Äì 90%,” stated Allred. “Without it, healthy adults tend to be laid up sick for a week or so. Often, they pass it on to their kids, who take it to school and infect other families.”

But people with chronic health conditions, the clinical director said–such as diabetes heart disease–increase risk from complications including pneumonia and meningitis, which can lead to death. “Influenza is a nasty disease that kills about 35,000 Americans every year.”

Allred has studied influenza and vaccinations since the company started providing community vaccinations in the early 1990s, continuing every year. “It varies season by season, but I’d guess we give as many as 80,000 flu shots every year.”

One way to find a flu shot is to check www.getaflushot.com for a clinic near you.

“Regardless where you get your flu shot, do consider getting vaccinated,” Allred concluded.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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