Four Suspected Dead in St. Joe County From H1N1; Get Vaccines Now

Health officials in St. Joseph County suspect four people have died from the H1N1 flu virus, and with the peak of the flu season approaching in February, it is becoming increasingly important to get those vaccinations. Frank Lynch, health nurse in Starke County, said it’s never too late to get the flu vaccine and more people have been getting vaccinated this year.

Lynch said it takes about two weeks to build an immunity after getting vaccinated.

“Any time’s a good time to get the flu vaccine. It’s not too late to get it now; generally, around February is when we start seeing the peak as far as flu season goes, so obviously – if you’re looking at about two weeks to start building an immunity after getting a flu vaccine – there’s still time. Even March is a good time, because you see flu carried on into June. Just because flu season is technically over, that doesn’t mean that we’re still not carrying around viruses that carry the flu strain,” Lynch said.

You must be at least six months old to get the vaccine, or at least two years old to get the nasal vaccine. The flu vaccine does help protect against H1N1, Lynch said.

If you have health insurance, you can get the vaccine from CVS or Walgreens. If you have no insurance or you have Medicaid, the Starke County Health Department will administer vaccines for $2 for children or $20 for adults; they do not bill insurance. Appoints are necessary; call (574) 772-9137 for more information.