State health officials urge Texans to get flu vaccine now

Headline Goes Here

AUSTIN - It's almost flu season, and state health officials say now is the time to get vaccinated.

With the flu vaccine in plentiful supply, the Texas Department of State Health Services encourages everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families.

We have already seen an increase in flu activity in Texas, and now is the time to get vaccinated," said Dr. Lisa Cornelius, DSHS infectious diseases medical officer. "A dose of vaccine now will help protect people throughout the flu season. There is no reason to put it off."

The flu is caused by various influenza viruses. The vaccine is formulated each year to match the strains of flu researchers expect to be circulating. New versions of the vaccine available this year will protect against four strains of the virus. The new vaccine is available as a shot for everyone and as a nasal spray for people ages 2 to 49 who are healthy and not pregnant. The version of the vaccine that covers three strains is also still available.

This year's vaccine protects against the strains A/California/7/2009 (H1N1), A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2) and B/Massachusetts/2/2012. The four-strain vaccine will also protect against B/Brisbane/60/2008.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months old or older be vaccinated against seasonal flu. The CDC also says that children under age 9 who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time should get two doses at least four weeks apart.

Click here for more information on protecting yourself against the flu.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.