Allentown
63° F
Overcast
Overcast

Is the Flu Shot Effective?

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 11 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 11 2013 10:01:05 PM CST

Flu battle in the Lehigh Valley

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Officials with the National Institute of Health have said the flu has now reached epidemic levels.

Hospitals across the region as well as flu clinics like the one held by the Allentown Health Bureau have been keeping busy.

'This clinic today was definitely busier than normal we've been offering free flu vaccines on all the Fridays in probably October, November and December and this was by far our busiest one” said Vicky Kistler, Director of the Allentown Health Bureau.

Friday morning, the CDC announced flu activity remains elevated throughout most of the United States and according to a recent study officials found the overall vaccine effectiveness to be 62 percent.

That means that if you've been vaccinated you're about 60 percent less likely to get the flu, but experts say it's no excuse to skip getting a shot.

“The majority of flu is in fact covered by the flu shot, however not everybody receives a hundred percent immunity when they get a flu shot…..We do see strains that are not covered by the flu shot but again we hope that getting the immunization will allow folks who still acquire flu to have a less severe case” said Kistler.

As for those who may have already fallen ill Kistler said “If they are not running a temperature they certainly are eligible to get a flu shot if they haven't received one but certainly anyone who has that concern should speak with their medical provider.”

Kistler added to avoid running low on doses of vaccines, community partners along with the Allentown Health Bureau will be having a conference call on Monday to discuss how to best make sure anybody who needs a flu shot can easily get one.

Friday, the church dioceses of Allentown also announced beginning the weekend of January 19-20 church goers will see some changes during mass to help protect their health.

'The practice of drinking from a chalice of consecrated wine' during communion is suspended.

Practitioners may also bow or nod in exchange of giving a handshake during the 'sign of peace'.

The changes will be announced in parishes this weekend.