SPOKANE, Wash. - It is nearly time to make appointments for you and your family to get flu shots.
Some local doctors and pharmacies have already started giving them out to patients, while others started Monday. Many will not have theirs ready for at least another week.
Multicare Rockwood is one of those local places. Dr. Gretchen Lasalle with their Quail Run Clinic said it is because experts working to produce the vaccine want to make sure it will best protect recipients against as many strands of the virus as possible.
The delay comes off of two very bad years for the flu in the United States. From 2017 to 2018, there were 80,000 flu-associated deaths and the last calendar year, there were 61,000.
Locally, Dr. Lasalle said she noticed that last year's flu season, which typically spans October through May, lasted longer. Lasalle said she treated people through June.
Lasalle said she has some concerns about the upcoming season, as some parts of the country are starting to see cases about a month early.
“If we look at Australia, their season comes before ours. They had a really early flu season and a strong flu season," said Lasalle.
Unlike years past, there is not concern for a vaccine shortage. However, because there are already cases popping up, Lasalle recommended making appointments to get the flu shot sooner rather than later.
Multicare Rockwood will be holding flu shot clinics on October 5 and November 2 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their Quail Run location at 2214 East 29th Avenue, Spokane.
Doctors said to remember the flu virus mutates quickly and it is not possible to protect against all strands. The vaccine cannot give you the virus either. If you find yourself battling the flu soon after getting your shot, you may have already had the virus in your system. For the first two days, you show little to no symptoms. The vaccine also takes 2 weeks to work, so you can still get sick in that time frame.