PUBLISHED: 4:06 PM on Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Health officials kick-off influenza vaccination season
Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson and other state health officials today joined that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, to remind Alaskans that "it's not too late to get your influenza vaccination."

Health officials from both the state and municipality of Anchorage gathered at the Mall at Sears to encourage those Alaskans who haven't already done so to get their flu vaccination. State and municipal public health nurses were on hand to hold a free two-hour flu shot clinic at the mall.

"Last year's flu season didn't peak until March," said Commissioner Jackson, "so it still makes sense to get a flu vaccination before we start the busy holiday season."

Once a person gets a flu shot, it takes about two weeks to develop immunity against influenza viruses represented in the current season's vaccine. Influenza vaccination is the single most effective means of preventing influenza virus infection.

This season's flu vaccine supply should be adequate for Alaska residents wanting to reduce their risk of getting influenza. State, city and federal health officials, however, are encouraging Alaskans to get the vaccine if they are at greater risk for complications from the virus, or if they have close contact with others at risk.