Temple, TX — It's that time of year again to start making plans to get your annual flu shot.
Doctors are not sure how hard the flu will hit this year, but they aren't prepared to take any chances either. Local medical facilities, like Scott and White Hospital, are getting their various flu vaccines ready to start administering them in the coming weeks. For the first time this year, there is new type of flu vaccine being offered. It's called the Quadravalent.
"It has one additional strain of the flu virus, and it's a "B" strain. And, the thought is that, you know, that's one additional strain that you're specifically addressing," said Dr. Alan Howell, Staff Physician of Infectious Diseases for Scott and White Hospital.
While clinics will be offering this new type of vaccine, in addition to the other vaccines used in years past, Dr. Howell says the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, does not say that this medicine will be any better than the others.
"At this point, there's no recommendations from the CDC that is the preferred vaccine. But it is available out there for people, if they request it," said Howell.
Health experts say everyone needs to get a vaccination, and the best time to get it is by October.
"The two age groups that are at most risk are those that are over 65 and young children that are under five, or particularly under two years of age," said Howell.
Last year, the CDC reports the flu virus increased in November and peaked by late December. Dr. Howell says the virus is unpredictable and could peak as late as February. The best advice is to get vaccinated and practice good hygiene.