You only need one flu shot.
During last year's influenza pandemic, the Illinois Department
of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommended both a 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination and a
seasonal influenza vaccination. This year, the H1N1 strain and two
other flu strains are in one vaccine. This is similar to previous
years in which three different flu strains were rolled into one
vaccine. However, children younger than 9 who have not been
vaccinated for influenza in the past will need two doses of the flu
Vaccine recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
Both the IDPH and the CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and
older receive the flu vaccine. People at high risk of serious flu
complications should make getting vaccinated a priority. This
includes young children; pregnant women; people with chronic health
conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease; and
people 65 years and older.
"Every flu season is different and people are affected by the flu
differently. Even healthy children and adults can become very sick
from the flu," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of
Public Health director. "There are some people who cannot be
vaccinated, such as babies younger than 6 months and those who are
allergic to the vaccine. That's why it is important for those of us
who can get our influenza vaccine, to do so and protect those
vulnerable populations who could become seriously ill."
The flu vaccine is starting to arrive in Illinois. It will be
available at local health departments across the state, as well as
some doctor's offices, health clinics, hospitals and pharmacies. The
cost of vaccine will vary by location, but it is covered by
Medicare, Medicaid and by some insurance companies.
This year's flu vaccine is made in the same way as past flu
vaccines and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, 100 million doses of influenza vaccine have been used on
the average in the United States each year, with an excellent safety
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It is not too early to get your flu vaccine. You can be
vaccinated in September and be protected throughout the entire flu
season. The season typically runs from October through May, with the
peak in January.
The vaccine is available in two forms, a flu shot or nasal spray.
The flu shot contains inactivated, or killed, viruses. The nasal
spry contains live viruses that are weakened. Neither vaccine will
To reduce the spread of influenza, it is also important to
practice the three "C's":
your hands frequently and properly.
Cover -- Cover
your cough and sneeze.
Contain -- Contain your germs by
staying home if you are sick.
For more information, visit
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]