Vaccination against influenza is recommended for everyone 6 months old or older, and September and October are “the best times for most people to get vaccinated,” an Epidemiology Bulletin published Aug. 30 by the State Department of Health says.
The bulletin says that recommendations are based on the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That guidance says that everyone over 6 months should be vaccinated, with no preference given to any of the seven options that will be available in Alaska this season. Those older than 65 are recommended to receive “high-dose or adjuvanted influenza vaccines.”
Children who need two doses of the vaccine — any aged 6 months to 8 years who have never received a flu vaccine or who only have had one in the past — should get their first dose as soon as they’re available, the bulletin says. The second should come at least four weeks after the first.
People in their third trimester of pregnancy “should get a flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine is available.”
The bulletin says that vaccination is “particularly important” for those at increased risk for severe illness. Those people are defined as people younger than 4 years old, those 50 years old or older, those with chronic disorders, those who are immunocompromised, those who are or will be pregnant, residents of long-term care facilities, American Indian or Alaska Native people, and people with a high body mass index.
For more information about the flu vaccine in Alaska, or to find a vaccination location, visit the Department of Health website or vaccines.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.