*Editor’s Note: The story has been corrected to clarify that the vaccine effectiveness of 10 percent is for one of the four strains and not the entire vaccine.
Nurse explains importance of being vaccinated
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The flu season is upon us. According to an article from www.news9.com, more than 7,000 cases of flu were reported across the U.S. at the beginning of December, which has doubled more than last year.
One of the reasons behind this could be the flu vaccinations’ effectiveness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it could be only 10 percent effective.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health Public Health Nurse Lauren Massey spoke about the flu vaccine.
“The preparation of the flu vaccine is far beyond Muscogee (Creek) Nation,” she said. “The CDC makes the flu vaccine every year.”
Massey said the CDC will take input from other countries to come up with what they think will be the most prevalent flu strain.
“There are numerous flu strains,” she said.
One of the strains the U.S. is seeing is from Australia, which is the worry from the CDC of having little effect for the patients.
Massey said the effectiveness of the vaccine being only 10 percent is only for one of the four flu strains used in the vaccine.
“Our (vaccine) along those lines could only be 10 percent effective,” Massey said.
Massey said the flu vaccine can keep people from getting as sick or have milder symptoms.
MCNDH conducted their mobile flu clinic in October where they went to casinos, community centers and gave out vaccinations to anyone who needed it.
“Every clinic has a flu vaccine,” Massey said. “Some clinics you make an appointment, some you walk-in. Each clinic does vary a little bit.”
Massey said getting the flu vaccine is the number one defense from getting the flu. Washing your hands and staying home if you are sick will help.
“If you do get the flu, getting the anti-viral within the first few days lessens the viral load and helps,” she said.
She said that any flu shot is better than no flu shot when it comes to fighting the flu.
“It is better to get it (flu vaccination),” Massey said.
Massey said to contact any of the clinics within the MCN jurisdiction or the public health nurses for more information on the flu vaccine and how to get it.