Pediatrician says there is no wrong time to get a flu vaccine

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Flu season isn't here yet, but one local pediatrician says now is the time to get vaccinated.

The largest manufacturer of the flu vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, has informed doctors that the distribution of about 70 million vaccines is still several weeks away.

A spokesman for Sanofi told News 12 they had to wait to start making the vaccine because the World Health Organization waited about a month longer than normal to decide which strain of the flu virus is most likely to hit the U.S.

"We are currently producing approximately 70 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine to support nationwide immunization campaigns. Shipping of our products began the week of Aug. 12 and will continue through November. We proactively communicated our shipping schedule to all Sanofi Pasteur customers beginning in late June to assist in the coordination of their immunization campaigns," a spokesperson for Sanofi said in a statement.

Dr. Gary Mirkin, president of the Allied Physicians Group, says people should already be thinking about getting a flu shot even though the season is a few weeks away.

The Great Neck pediatrician says he got a small supply last week and is already giving out the flu vaccine.

He says college students who go back to campus should make sure that they have been vaccinated, and also parents of young children.

Mirkin says even though peak flu season is at the end of January, or the beginning of February, he has had patients get the flu all year long, so he says it's never too late and there is never a wrong time to get the flu vaccine.

"Even if we had no vaccine until Jan. 1 2020, it's still worth vaccinating. So, if you forgot to come in or if your pediatrician ran out and is waiting for another shipment, it's not too late," he says.

Mirkin says although there may be signs in pharmacies to get a flu shot there, he says the best thing to do is talk to your child's pediatrician because that doctor has their records and can tell you exactly what you need to know.

Right now, the flu vaccine delay appears to only affect doctors, not flu shots that are available at local pharmacies.


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