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Is It Too Early For Flu Shots?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With fall right around the corner, flu shots are too.

"Those first few weeks we were inundated," said Jennifer Priess with Primary Care Allegheny Health Network.

Should you beat the rush and get one now? Already, local doctors are getting calls.

"They're asking more questions," Priess said. "Is it too early, is it too early?"

"They're asking if we have the flu vaccine, because Rite Aid down the street and CVS down the street have it," she added.

It's not too early. The flu vaccine has improved over the last few years and should protect you through the season.

"The immune response is more available, for closer to six months," Priess said. "And previously it wasn't that long."

Flu cases can be unpredictable. It's not crucial to get immunized right now, but eventually, cold and flu season will be here.

"They expect that in October we might have some flu," Priess said. "So if you can get your vaccine by September, that's a reasonable expectation."

Flu vaccines are given yearly, because the strains covered are based on what was circulating a year and a half ago on the other side of the world.

Last year, the match of the vaccine and circulating strains was off a bit.

"It really is a calculated guess about what they're going to put into the vaccine," Priess said.

This year's covers two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B.

"We hope those will be appropriate for this year's flu season," Priess said. "Even if they're not exact, they still confer some protection."

The usual flu shot goes into the muscle, but the kind that goes under the skin and the spray that goes into the nose are alternatives.

As for availability, some supplies have arrived and some are just coming in, and will continue to come in through the next several months.

"They were mailed yesterday or today, so we should have them within two days," Priess said.

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