With flu season right around the corner, members of the Thomas Jefferson Health District are encouraging people to get their shot. While the health department hasn't received its shipment of vaccines - they expect to have them in a few weeks - you can still get one from your local pharmacy.
"Those vaccines are perfectly safe," said Immunization Coordinator Alice Sorum. "They're made by the same manufacture from which we get out supply."
Officials recommend everyone six months and older get a flu shot.
New state-by-state survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that due to parents' and providers' efforts, immunization rates for children and adolescents in Virginia have significantly improved for most vaccines.
The 2010 National Immunization Survey shows an increase of nine percentage points in the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccination rate in 2010 compared to 2009 for children aged 19 to 35 months of age.
Other significant improvements include a 21 percentage point increase in vaccination rates for Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b), a 12 percentage point increase for hepatitis A vaccination, and a 14 percentage point increase in rotavirus vaccination rates for this age group.
Likewise, teen vaccination rates for Tdap have increased 13 percentage points, and rates for the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) have gone up by 17 percentage points.
"Improvements in our immunization coverage rates show that clinicians are talking to parents about protecting their children through vaccination," said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MPH, FAAP.
Parents can have their children vaccinated at their local health department or by their health care provider. For more information on vaccine-preventable disease and vaccine safety, click here.