There has been a nationwide shortage in flu shots formulated specifically for the elderly. So far this shortage has not been felt in Michigan.

“One of the manufacturers of the Vaccine had trouble making enough of the vaccine. We have not seen a shortage here however that could change,” said Robert Van Howe, Medical Director at the Western U.P. Health Department.

In the meantime medical officials have stated the importance of both children and the elderly receiving their flu vaccines.

“People who have the worst infections with influenza are those over the age of 65 and children. So we’re targeting those as high priority individuals to get vaccinated,” added Van Howe.

The vaccine works by introducing your immune system to weaker strains of the influenza virus to build a natural defense.

“The reason we recommend the vaccine is that it can keep you from getting the infection, and if you do get the infection it’s not as severe and the best way to keep influenza from spreading through the community is having as many people vaccinated as possible,” said Van Howe.

The flu shot is also very important in helping to keep the virus from spreading to higher risk patients.

“I would get the flu shot to protect you and to protect the younger kids or the elderly that may be around you, because they don’t have as strong of a defense against the virus as adults do,” said Savanna Testa, a Certified Medical Assistant at the Upper Great Lakes Hancock Family Health Center.

Officials also recommend seeing a doctor immediately if you notice any flu like symptoms.

“If you find yourself getting a high fever, a dry cough, or muscle aches, within the first 48 hours there are anti-viral medications that will shorten the course of the illness. If you wait more than 48 hours the medication doesn’t help very much,” said Van Howe.

This article appeared in Upper Michigan Source. Read the full story here.