Time Still Exists To Receive Flu Vaccine

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

December 19, 2005

Michigan citizens that have not received an influenza vaccine still have a window of opportunity to be protected this season, due to a milder than anticipated start of the season, state officials said today.

Dr. Dean Sienko, acting state Chief Medical Executive, said he expects the flu season to have a later than usual peak, meaning individuals still have time now to seek out a flu vaccine.

“Last season, our flu season peak occurred in mid-February, and all signs point to a similar disease pattern this year,” Sienko said. “Based on the information we have, we believe there will still be ample opportunity for citizens to receive a flu vaccine throughout the month of December, and quite possibly into January.”

Sienko said it takes two weeks for individuals to build up immunities to influenza once the vaccine is given, meaning that time still exists to receive protection for the expected heart of the 2005-06 flu season.

Estimates indicate that there have been nearly a half million more doses available this season statewide than all of last year.

Last year, influenza activity peaked on February 19, 2005, and Sienko said similar disease patterns are shaping up for the 2005-06 flu season. So far in Michigan, influenza activity is still at sporadic levels, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Vaccine supply has been an issue in some counties this season, with health departments in Wayne, Oakland, and Kent Counties reporting sporadic shortages.

Two weeks ago, Michigan received 30,000 free doses of influenza vaccine from the CDC, after they purchased a large supply of doses from the Chiron Corporation. The Michigan Department of Community Health has already distributed those doses to local health departments around the state, based on need.