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Any time a good time for flu vaccination

Harrington: Flu season expected to hit in mid-February

February 03, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — It's never too late to get a flu shot.

"From what I've been following, Massachusetts' flu season hasn't really begun yet," said Tom Nutile, director of Marketing at Harrington Hospital. "We don't expect to see it peaking until mid-February into March. The reason that it's important is that we often see patients or staff that say they've forgotten to get a flu shot and it's already January. With the statistics showing that it hasn't really hit yet, it means that people can still get them and they'll be as effective."

Getting a flu shot later in the season and getting one early in the next does not really matter, as the companies developing the vaccines focus on different elements in the vaccines each year.

"When they make the vaccine, they identify specific strains and try to anticipate which strains are going to be the most active the following year," said Tom Hijeck, vice president of Nursing at Harrington. "They base them on trends going on throughout the world and the previous season. Right now, they are gearing up for flu vaccines for next year."

For example, as the southern hemisphere has different seasons as the northern, those making the vaccines can view what elements of flu varieties are in those countries during their flu seasons and plan accordingly.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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