OUR OPINION: It’s not too late to vaccinate for H1N1 and the seasonal flu

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

While many are breathing a sigh of relief that we are in the midst of somewhat of a downturn in the H1N1 flu pandemic, it is important to remember that these viruses are notoriously unpredictable.

Louisiana Health Officer Jimmy Guidry warns it is very possible another wave of flu activity could be upon us later this month and in February.

This is when what is known as the traditional flu season begins.

If things get rough, everything we’ve experienced with the swine flu in 2009 could be just a warmup for what is to come.

If the flu comes back, there won’t be much of an excuse for anyone to catch the virus for lack of  vaccination.

Both H1N1 and seasonal vaccines are readily available at pharmacies, through private providers and government clinics.

During this time which may be all too brief when the virus is laying low, it would be a very good time for folks in Louisiana to get their shots.

High risk groups for seasonal flu, including seniors, children under age 19 and anyone with chronic respiratory problems should certainly delay no longer in getting their shots.

For the deadly H1N1 virus, six groups have been targeted and should be inoculated. They include health care workers, pregnant women, children and young adults ages six months to 24 years, caregivers and parents of children under six months old, adults ages 25-64 with chronic health issues, and parents and caregivers of people who have disabilities.

According to Dr. Guidry, over 300,000 people have been vaccinated for the H1N1 virus since October. Demand for the seasonal flu vaccine has reached unprecedented levels.

If you haven’t had a shot yet, and fall in the one of the targeted groups, the lull in the flu season would be a good time to be vaccinated.

Dr. Guidry and the the DHH say doing so is one of the best ways to protect not only yourself but your friends, relatives and co-workers from the flu, and we agree.

And, don’t forget to keep washing your hands.