Time for Flu Shots

Time for Flu Shots

Sep 19, 2016

Health District Recommends Flu Shots Before Virus Begins Circulating in Community

225 hospitalizations, six deaths in Spokane County attributed to flu last season

For more information, contact SRHD Public Information Officer Kim Papich (509) 324-1539 or

SPOKANE, Wash. – Sept. 19, 2016 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today its recommendation that Spokane County individuals get their flu shots now, before the community sees its first confirmed flu case.

Spokane’s first flu-related hospitalizations the past two years occurred in October. The sooner individuals get vaccinated the better, as flu seasons are unpredictable and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. SRHD officials remind residents that a flu shot is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against the flu, but their loved ones as well.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people 6 months of age and older get immunized against flu. The vaccine provides antibody protection within two weeks.

Flu shots are available at numerous locations throughout Spokane County including health care provider offices and local pharmacies.

Flu vaccine choices this year include:

  • Trivalent vaccine The traditional vaccine designed to protect against three different flu viruses—two strains of influenza A virus and one strain of influenza B virus.
  • Quadrivalent vaccine These flu vaccines protect against four strains of flu viruses—two stains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B, providing broader protection.
  • High-dose vaccines for seniors As people age, their immune systems weaken, which means the elderly benefit less than younger people from a standard flu shot. High-dose shots, approved for those ages 65 and over, include more immunity-producing proteins to provide more protection.
  • Intradermal shots These shots are designed for needle-phobic adults ages 18 to 64—they have shorter needles that penetrate just the skin, rather than traditional intramuscular shots.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for the 2016-2017 flu season due to a lack of proven effectiveness for preventing influenza. Another recommendation this is year is that people with egg allergies can receive any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine, though people with severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Last flu season, 225 people were hospitalized due to flu in Spokane County and, unfortunately, six residents’ deaths were attributed to flu-related illness. The sixth death was in a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions and occurred late in the season, in August 2016, but is still considered a 2015-2016 flu season death. Statewide during last flu season, there were 68 laboratory-confirmed, influenza-related deaths. Nationally, according to CDC, 55,227 deaths occurred from influenza/pneumonia in 2014 (the most recent year available).

For more information about influenza and influenza vaccine visit or SRHD’s web site also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.