Flu season underway and vaccine changes could make it harder for parents

flu vaccine needle

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — Flu season has started and health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.

The way many kids get the vaccine has changed this year and some parents say it is making it more difficult to keep their kids healthy.

Kids have been able to get a simple spray in their nose to protect against the flu for years.

Not this year.

“Literature and the CDC has decided that it really isn’t as effective as it should be,” said Ellen Roy, Bellin Health Infection Prevention RN.

“The children and even some adults who really are fearful of injections–if we tell them that, you know, why we have to do it that way and the shot itself is very painless,” Debbie Armbruster, City of De Pere Health Director, said.

Instead, everyone, both kids and adults, are encouraged to get an injection.

That could lead to more crying kids, but they are still getting vaccinated.

“I don’t think it’s prohibiting a lot of people from not getting the vaccine,” Armbruster said.

So far doctors tell Action 2 News there haven’t been too many patients, but the flu season is just beginning.

“We really don’t have any indication that it’s going to be a hard season, it’s going to be a mild season. We don’t know,” said Roy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wisconsin is one of 41 states with sporadic flu activity.

The state health department reported 12 people have tested positive for the virus so far this year. Half of those have been in northeast Wisconsin. That is more than anywhere else in the state.

“Now is a very good time to get [the vaccine] because it takes a couple of weeks for your immune system to build up those immunities and to get the vaccine now before the flu actually comes in full swing is definitely best,” said Roy.

Health officials said the vaccine is important for the person getting it, but also important to keep friends and family, especially the elderly, healthy this flu season.