Medical officials urge residents to get the flu shot

Published 9:43 am Monday, November 2, 2015

In a matter of weeks the flu season will be in full swing, and for those who have not gotten their flu shot, now is time.

There have been no confirmed cases of flu in Warren County so far, but Dr. Janell Vinson, a pediatrician at Merit Health River Region said their clinic is encouraging all those who can receive the vaccine be immunized.

“Our recommendations in our clinic is for all pediatric patients to receive the flu vaccine,” Vinson said, and for those not eligible, which include infants younger than six months, it will be up to the family of the child to take precautions from the flu.

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“We encourage the remaining family members in that house hold with that child to receive the flu vaccine as added protection for that six month old or younger child,” she said.

Vinson said they also highly recommend children who are at a greater risk of becoming very sick with the influenza virus, those with asthma or congenital heart or lung disease, get immunized.

However, she emphasized even healthy children who get the flu could wind up in the hospital with pneumonia.

Getting the flu shot does not cause one to get the flu, Vinson said, because it is a “killed virus” and not a live vaccine.

“Intranasal flu mist is a different story. That is a live vaccine going into your nose, and you will have a local reaction, which could include congestion and a runny nose,” she said.

Children can receive the flu mist, but there are certain exceptions.

“You have to be two and older to receive the flu mist, and you cannot be a child that has asthma or have ever wheezed,” Vinson said, adding they do not recommend the flu mist to those with a compromised immune system or to those who live in a home with someone with a compromised immune system.

For children 9-years-old and younger, who have never received a flu vaccine, Vinson said the flu vaccine must be administered in two doses.

“You get one at time zero and another one 28 days later,” she said.

For those who choose not to get a flu shot, they are at a higher risk of getting the flu virus, Vinson said.

“You may say, well it’s just a virus and your body is going to take care of it. That is correct. We did not have flu vaccines years and years ago, and we got the flu, and we felt like we wanted to die,” Vinson said. “You just feel miserable, because the virus can attach several different systems and everybody’s flu can present a little bit differently.”

While health experts report this year’s vaccine is far more effective than last year’s vaccine, there remains a chance of caching the flue even with a flu shot. But, Vinson said, every bit of defense can help.

“So if I can just add 40 percent of added protection to not get that virus — that is protection I would want for myself, my children and my family members,” she said.

This year the flu vaccine will cover four strains of the virus.

Flu vaccines are also available at local drugstores in town.

“I used to prefer my clients get their flu shots at the doctors office,” pharmacist and owner of Battlefield Discount Drugs John Storey said, because a doctor could check for other conditions like high blood pressure, but now doctors are so busy, getting a flu shot by a pharmacist can be a favorable alternative.

“The doctors want us to do immunizations,” Storey said, adding pharmacists are required to use a doctor as a “preceptor.”

“Dr. Sam Pierce is our preceptor. He is a local intern doctor who is close to the site.”

The process for receiving a flu shot at the pharmacy only takes minutes.

“We will ask you a variety of questions, like if you are allergic to eggs,” the pharmacist at the Battlefield Discount Drugs’ sister pharmacy, Battlefield Express Drugs John Frey, said and new clients will need to fill out some paper work.

At most, Frey said the injection feels like a small sting.

“They have come so far with the sharpness of the needles. Given properly you can barely even feel it,” he said.

The CDC recommends all individuals who are eligible receive the flu vaccine because the best way to protect yourself and others is by getting immunized.


About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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