Massachusetts ranks number one in the country for flu vaccination rates and research. 58-percent of people in the Commonwealth receive flu shots compared to 45 percent nationally.
Governor Deval L. Patrick says it starts with education. “Informing people about precautions they can take to help themselves and folks are pretty responsive,” says Patrick.
Carol Wojnarowski, Infection Control Nurse at Holyoke Medical Center explains that flu shots have been more popular in recent years. “Employers are being more aggressive and wanting their employees to be protected with the flu vaccine.”
There have also been efforts to increase availability of flu shots. Not only can you go to your health care provider, but also to a chain pharmacy too. “Pharmaceutical companies such a Walgreens or CVS many people have the ability to acquire a flu vaccine,” adds Wojnarowski.
Massachusetts is also leading in flu research. Scientists at Hinton State Laboratory in the Eastern part of the state have identified a new strain of influenza for this season. This helps to make the formula for the vaccine as effective as possible
So, if you haven’t got your shot yet, now is the time. “You’re in the mall and shopping in all of those crowded areas where you can very easily pass a virus to others. You want your protections before the holidays begin,” says Carol.
Even our Governor is leading by example, “I got my flu shot and I hate shots,” says Patrick.