LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Doctors are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 80 lab confirmed cases of the flu in Kentucky. The medical director for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, Lori Caloia, said 37 of those cases were from Jefferson County.

“Usually this time of year, we have about 18,” Caloia said.

But Caloia added it’s still too early to tell if that means the season is peaking early or if it is a sign of a rough season ahead. She said it takes about two weeks for a person’s immunity to build up from the vaccine, so right now is a good time to get a shot.

“This is a great time, because we’re catching it on the early side of the flu season," Caloia said. "And we want people to get vaccinated before they start getting exposed to the flu."

The flu tends to spread quickly around the holidays. Caloia suggested it would be a good idea to have the shot before relatives come to town and start sharing germs.

“I think it’s fairly typical of what we see in Louisville and Kentucky,” said Preethi Ananthakrishnan, MD, Norton’s Infectious Disease Specialist. “We usually see fewer cases before the New Year. And then after the New Year, we usually see an uptick in the number of cases.”

Ananthakrishnan said that although it is early in the season, this year’s vaccine appears to be effective.

“The vaccine contains to different components of Influenza A and two components of Influenza B,” she said. “And of the cases we’ve seen in Kentucky so far, 75 percent of them are Influenza A that are covered by the vaccine.”

A popular option with children is not available this year. The nasal spray vaccines are not being offered.

“What we have found is that that vaccine is not as effective as the injection version of the vaccine,” Caloia said.

Last year, some doctors recommended against using it. However it is not available to anyone this year because it is not being distributed.

Those who are more susceptible to complications from getting the flu include pregnant women, children under the age of five, the elderly and anyone with chronic health issues. The CDC strongly suggests these groups of people get the flu vaccination.

For more information from the CDC, click here. And for the weekly influenza report in Kentucky, click here.

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