Influenza activity continues to increase in the United States and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s latest FluView report. CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season and antiviral treatment as early as possible for people who get sick and are at high risk of flu complications.
Although clinics in metropolitan areas have reported facing shortages of vaccine, (KTBS News, Shreveport), Shelby and Nacogdoches Counties still have plenty, according to CVS Pharmacy and Cline Family Medicine.
Daniel Luong, Pharmacist at CVS Pharmacy in Center said, “We have enough vaccine for people who come to get the shots.”
Dr. Mark Cline has family medicine clinics in Nacogdoches and now, in Center. A call to the Nacogdoches clinic’s Megan Tucker confirmed that both the Nacogdoches and the Center clinics have enough vaccine available for patients.
“We have not seen an increase in flu cases this January,” she said. “The number of cases remains consistent. We supply the Center clinic with vaccine, so we both have enough vaccine.”
Shelby County’s Health Officer, Dr. Florencio Singson, reports more cases overall.
“We are seeing more patients come in with influenza and influenza-like illnesses. Across Texas, also, the incidence of influenza and influenza-like illnesses is very high. It is the Type A strain of virus. Although our office has no more vaccine, I know the drug stores have it.”
Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next. Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. So even though the flu season has begun already, it is not too late to get that important vaccination.