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Flu season is approaching once again. Many local health centers and hospitals have not yet received supplies of the flu vaccine, even though some larger pharmacies have already begun to offer flu shots.

North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health) Chief Executive Medical Officer, John Foster MD, MPH, says that getting the vaccine is recommended, but there is still plenty of time for those who choose to wait.

“As is the case at other MGH practices, we have not received our pre-ordered supply of flu vaccine at New Health. We know some pharmacies have offered flu vaccine as early as the end of August this year, but it is fine to get vaccinated any time before the end of November. Of course, getting vaccinated any time throughout the flu season is beneficial,” says Dr. Foster.

Dr. Foster added, “It takes about two weeks to make antibodies after the flu vaccine; typically, the yearly increase in influenza does not start before December. The current recommendation is for all people age 6 months and above to be vaccinated, though we will be paying particular attention to patients at high risk for complications of the flu. Once we receive the flu vaccine, we aggressively vaccinate high risk and pediatric patients at the time of office visits in the fall.”

Dr. Foster encourages patients to get vaccinated at any site that is convenient, including town vaccination programs, through employers, a pharmacy or at NEW Health or similar practices. In the fall, MGH will have a walk-in vaccination program daily for any adult patient registered at MGH.

Further details on the vaccine programs at NEW Health and MGH will be posted on the NEW Health website as we have more information or can be accessed by calling our flu hotline at 617-643-8114.

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