Maine flu shots now available

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 11:28 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 19, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State health officials got their flu shots Monday and urged Mainers to do the same as the changing seasons ushered in influenza season.

“We want the entire state to be immunized,” Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said before getting her shot at state the CDC office in Augusta. Pinette said flu vaccines are plentiful and available now.

After a shortage of the serum in 2009, a combined H1N1 and regular seasonal flu serums were combined last year, when supplies were adequate, Pinette said. The two also are being combined this season, she said.

Pinette, who was followed by other health officials in getting their shots, said the flu season begins as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors, creating more opportunities for the virus to spread.

Most Mainers get their flu shots through their private health care providers, but state health officials also have plenty of supplies to run clinics throughout the state. Locations will be listed on the CDC website or on the 211 information line. To access the website, go to www.maineflu.gov.

While anyone can get sick from the flu, certain groups are at greater risk for serious complications. The CDC says they include older people, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions.

Clinics at many public schools will be run for children under 9, but parents must give their permission or “opt in” for their children to receive vaccinations.

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