WHAT: The vaccine is a series of three injections that help fight off influenza by stimulating the body’s immune system.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET IT: If you’re at high risk for catching an influenza illness, the four-strain vaccine will protect you for the rest of the season. To qualify for the vaccine, you need to be over age 6 months and have been hospitalized because of an influenza-related condition or illness. Children under the age of 6 months do not need to receive the vaccine, but parents and caregivers of children 6 months to 12 years of age should get them.
FIGHT BACK: While the flu is one of the most common causes of hospitalization for children, it is not fatal. The greatest risk of flu complications comes from influenza A viruses. The virus strains that are being actively transmitted every year are the ones being studied by health officials to see if there’s enough vaccine available to inoculate everyone in the US against the possible strains.
If you know someone who is over age 6 and not qualified for the vaccine, you can get the vaccine at your local health clinic or by calling (800) STAY-SAFE. Here are the recommended locations:
• Upstate New York
Upstate CDC Health Centers: Central New York Center, 3056 W. Seneca St., Syracuse, NY 13202; Route 31/Union Center Rd., (315) 548-7678; (315) 548-7339; 3111 Park Blvd., Ithaca, NY 14213 (315) 463-5000.
• Upstate NY (Syracuse, Albany and Rochester)
Upstate CDC Health Centers: 6521 Ingham Rd., Albany, NY 12154 (518) 551-6611; 2141 Lockport Road, Rochester, NY 14622; 6250 U.S. Route 7, Troy, NY 13040 (315) 763-9980.
• Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island
Find Centers of Excellence for Flu Vaccination: http://www.co-vet.org/