RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says now is the time to get the flu shot, recommending that Americans get a dose by the end of October.
As the days roll closer to November, health officials are also making predictions about the flu season that lies ahead.
Karen Carle, Senior Public Health Nurse for Immunizations and School Health with Richmond City Health District, says the health community uses Australia as a basis as to what we might see in the U.S. for the next few months.
According to Carle, Australia just wrapped up a “worse than normal” flu season.
“We’re expecting ours to be worse than normal this year as well,” she said.
On Friday, several hundred flu vaccines were available for free at Southwood Apartments in Richmond, courtesy of Carle and the team at Richmond City Health District.
Neighbors took full advantage of the opportunity to safeguard against germs this year.
“I have to take care of my aunt,” said Roxanne Terry, who brought her elderly aunt along for the flu shot. “She was sick at one time, had caught the flu real bad so it was time for her to get one.”
The CDC says manufacturers will distribute nearly 170 million doses of this year’s vaccine, which experts say is plenty to cover those wanting the shot.
And while it is officially recommended to get the shot by Oct. 31, Richmond area health workers say it’s never too late to protect yourself and those around you.
“Even if you do end up getting the flu after you’ve had the vaccine, it’s usually much less severe than it would be had you not gotten the vaccine,” said Carle.
Friday’s free flu shot event was a chance for people to get vaccinated but it was also to help the Richmond City Health District train employees. Officials say the event allows the city’s health workers to practice a large-scale immunization in case of an outbreak emergency in the future.