"Now that we have a son who has special needs and is in and out of the hospital, it is paramount," said Katey Rallis. New parents Katey and Jason Rallis want to do whatever they can to protect their 9-month-old son Nolan from the influenza virus.
"Having an infant now makes you realize that adults have a better immune system than your child so they need all the help they can get at first," said Jason Rallis. Rallis want to take extra precautions to keep his son safe now that the American Academy of Pediatrics released new vaccine guidelines targeting children as young as six months.
"Last year we were mostly focused on school aged-type children but now we realize that the younger children are the ones who can sustain some of the problems," said Dr. Larry Satkowiak with Children's Hospital Central California. Health officials say other severe complications can arise if parents don't immunize their kids. "Children from 6 months to 3 years can get anomia on top of it, can get other bad infections. So by preventing those flu symptoms, we can prevent any other long-term problems as well."
This year's vaccine protects against the same strains of the flu virus as last season but people are still encouraged to get protected again. "There are a lot of viruses out there and this vaccine only protects for the top 3 viruses that will be in our community," said Natalia Vargas-Leanos with the Fresno County Health Department. The department will begin its campaign to vaccinate the public at clinics throughout various locations. Health officials say now is the perfect time to get immunized.
"A good time to get your flu shot is October, even September, because it lasts about 6 to 12 months so you want to be covered because we know that the flu usually always peaks around January and February," said Vargas-Leanos.
The first Fresno County flu vaccine clinic will take place on October 12th.