Dear Franklin Residents:
This year’s flu season has the potential to be a severe one. Influenza-like illness is already widespread in Massachusetts according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and there is some concern that the vaccine formulated for this season may be somewhat less effective than in previous years. This being said, it is still important for everyone to be vaccinated. If you acquire the flu this season after receiving the vaccination, the course of the illness is likely to be less severe, this may help to reduce flu-related complications as well. The flu vaccine is still widely available in the community. Walgreens, CVS Pharmacies, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop Pharmacies all have vaccine on hand.
Individuals who may be reluctant to get the flu shot for one reason or another are asked to consider the following. Infants less than 6 months old, some women who are pregnant and the immunocompromised are not eligible to receive the flu vaccine. This vulnerable population very much depends on the herd immunity of the community to provide protection from diseases such as influenza. Herd or “community immunity” is a form of indirect protection from disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population become immune, such as through vaccination, this in turn limits the amount of a contagion circulating in the community. The flu season typically lasts well into March and April some years, so it is not too late to get vaccinated. Do it for your loved ones, your friends, your co-workers and for the vulnerable members of our community.
David E. McKearney, R.S.
Public Health Director
Franklin Health Department