Health officials say you should get your flu vaccine now; season could be severe this year

Flu shot generic WFTS.png
Posted at 7:13 AM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 07:29:31-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — It’s that time of year again.

“It’s time to get your flu shot,” said Dr. Nicolette Mathey, Pharmacist and Owner of Palm Harbor Pharmacy.

People like Barbara Lamphear make sure not to miss it.

“I received an email from the pharmacy to tell me they were here. So I get my flu shot every year,” said Lamphear, who received her flu shot.

For people who don’t normally get the flu vaccine, doctors said they may want to think twice this year.

There have already been warning signs for a severe flu season in other parts of the world.

“They already had their flu season earlier this year. And actually, it was bad, three to fives times worse than previous years,” said Mathey.

That’s a good indicator of what we could see here.

“Experts are expecting it’s going to hit us earlier,” said Mathey.

Especially after we experienced a small wave of flu over the summer.

“It probably was because we were wearing our masks and stuff in the normal flu season, and that pushed it out a little bit,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for the USF College of Public Health.

Some people are more susceptible to getting severe flu than others.

“Definitely kids, young patients, pregnant women, are very vulnerable to flu,” said Mathey.

“Not to be an alarmist, but kids die from the flu. It’s a real thing and it really happens and it’s terrifying,” she added.

“Please remember that anywhere from 25,000 to 60,000 Americans lose their lives due to flu during the flu season,” said Roberts.

Experts stress: Don’t wait to get your vaccine this season and get it as early as possible.

“A lot of times people worry is it too early or is it too late, and the answer is not to all of those,” said Roberts.

“So I’ve actually been going to doctor’s offices and vaccinating their staff. So to me, that says a lot if all the local docs are saying, ‘Nicolette come give me my flu shot now, so I’m protected before the season like even gets bad potentially,'” said Mathey.