INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) This years flu season could be a bad one.
The first death from the flu has already hit Indiana. And there’s word that this year’s flu vaccine is only about 50 percent effective, which might keep people from getting immunized.
A flu shot clinic is under way at the Fransiscan Visiting Nurse Service at 47th Street and Keystone Avenue. The signs pointing patrons to the spot to get their shot line the walls and halls. But when you get to the waiting room it’s empty.
“The optimistic side of me is thinking its because everybody has already gotten their shot. The other side, you’re going to have those naysayers. Those who are completely against getting vaccinated,” says Jessica Kinslow, the Flu and Immunization Program Manager for VNS.
She says not getting vaccinated can have deadly consequences.
“In my nursing career, I have seen very healthy normal people come down with the flu, end up on a ventilator, and later pass from that,” Kinslow says.
Kinslow says, supplies of the vaccine are good. The best option is usually the quadrivalent vaccine, which means it protects against four different strains of flu. But one of those strains, H3N2, has had a mutation since the vaccines were formulated back in March.
“So it’s kind of changed a little bit so it’s not going to get it completely killed,” says Winslow.
Making the vaccine only about 50 percent effective for that particular strain. But Winslow says it still offers good protection.
“I think it does. I think the one thing that we need to focus in on, is that that 50 percent it might help, is going to reduce the severity of the complications you might have,” she says.
A 65-year-old woman who wasn’t immunized is Indiana’s first flu fatality of the year.
“We need the shot now. Definitely. And spread that word, all your loved ones, get out there and get that flu shot. I mean that’s probably the biggest thing we need to do right now,” Winslow says.
The symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 degrees or higher. Headache, body ache, chills, nausea and a runny or stuffy nose. If you get the symptoms get treated quickly, and don’t go to work or school.
A free flu shot clinic will be this Friday from the Marion County Health Department from noon to 4 p.m. at the community building at 4012 North Rural Street.