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Time for Iowans to Plan Their Flu Shots

Flickr / Loren Kerns

Iowa’s deputy state epidemiologist says people should start thinking about getting vaccinated against the flu. 

Dr. Ann Garvey says this is the best way to avoid getting sick and prevent transmission, even in years when the vaccine is less effective. Last year the virus changed after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the 2014-2015 vaccine, which made it less effective.

"We didn't have as good a match as we would have liked. It did still provide some protection, but not as much as we like," says Garvey. "So this year there's been a change to the viruses that are included in the flu vaccine. And the virus that circulated last year is now in the vaccine this year, and will have coverage against that strain."

The Iowa Department of Public Health says, based on data from the CDC, about 300,000 Iowans get the flu every year. IDPH says that the flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa.

The IDPH reports that last year, less than 23 percent of Iowans got vaccinated.