This year’s flu vaccines have arrived at the Kodiak Public Health Center and are available at other locations as well.
According to the Department of Health’s epidemiology section, this year’s vaccine is unchanged from last year — it protects against three different strains of flu, including H1N1. Though the vaccine is the same, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a repeat dose because several studies have shown protection declines over the course of a year.
Vaccination is particularly recommended for children younger than 6 months old, and children between 6 months and 8 years old need two flu shots a minimum of four weeks apart for full protection. If a child that age received the flu vaccine last year, only one shot is needed this year.
Normally, the state of Alaska supplies flu vaccine only for people between 6 months and 18 years old. This year, Alaska purchased approximately 5,500 doses of adult flu vaccine and distributed them across the state.
“We decided to purchase some adult vaccine to help ensure that it’s available to Alaskans at higher risk of complications from the flu,” said Dr. Ward Hurlburt, director of the Alaska Division of Public Health. The adult vaccine costs $40 at the Kodiak Public Health Center, but some health insurance plans cover the cost.
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