Health officials recommend flu, pneumonia vaccines - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Health officials recommend flu, pneumonia vaccines

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
(WAFF) -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 5,000 people die from influenza and pneumonia. But it isn't too late to get vaccinated.

Doctors with the state health department are hopeful Alabamians already received their flu shots.

Assistant state health officer Scott Harris said they’d like for you to get it as soon as possible and that it takes a few days to start working.

"Well it certainly works within a couple of weeks. It's probably more like seven to 10 days. But again, as soon as possible, we'd like people to do,” said Harris.

There are some choices concerning the type of flu shot you might need. Harris said most people they take the routine flu shot. But they slightly stronger vaccine for people older than 65 to help stimulate their immune systems to make it effective.

“We do want to remind people that the nasal vaccine, the nasal spray, is not available this year. Researches have decided that for the past few years, that vaccine hasn't worked very well,” he said.

Harris said it's also important to get a pneumonia shot.

"It protects against one of the most common bacteria that causes pneumonia but not against all forms of pneumonia,” he said. “That shot is recommended for anyone over 65. And if you're under 65, it really depends on your health situation.”

He said it's recommended for people with certain types of health problems, such as chronic heart or lung problems or immune system problems.

"Prevnar is just another form of what people are calling a pneumonia shot. The other shot we tend to use is called pneumonia vax. Both of these protect against a germ called pneumococcus,” said Harris.

They each stimulate the immune system in different ways and are not given at the same time. Harris said to talk to your doctor.

He said all of their county health departments have the vaccine now and people are free to come and get them any time they like.

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