It might still be September, but it is already flu vaccine season.
Phamacies in the Dexter and Chelsea area have already begun offering the vaccine in anticipation of a longer season.
“Flu can be unpleasant at best and serious or fatal at worst. Annual vaccination provides optimal protection, especially for persons at risk of severe complications including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions like asthma, heart failure or diabetes,” Dr. Monique Reeves, medical director for Washtenaw County Public Health said in a previous statement. “It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop a protective immune response so it is important to get vaccinated as early in the season as possible."
Although last year saw only mild cases of influenza, the Centers for Disease Control caution residents not to become complacent. Two new strains of influenza have begun circling the globe, however this year's vaccine appears to work well against them, government officials said Thursday.
There is an ample supply of vaccine and many places in the community to get it including medical providers, the health department and various local pharmacies.
The Dexter Pharmacy is offering vaccines for $25. Appointments are encouraged, however walk-in clinics are scheduled for Oct. 2 from 1-7 p.m., and Oct. 4 from 4-7 p.m.
In Chelsea, flu shots are available at the CVS pharmacy, 935 S. Main St. The pharmacy is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Vaccines are free with insurance, or $31.99. Customers who pay for the vaccine will receive a 20 percent discount on any purchase made in the store.
Residents can utilize the Flu.gov vaccine finder to identify other locations in the county where flu vaccines are being offered.
The health department reminds residents that an annual flu vaccination and basic prevention strategies like hand washing provide the best protection against illness. Annual vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older.
For more information, visit the Washtenaw County Public Health Department's website.