A Little Ouch Can Prevent a Painful Flu

Free flue immunizations making the way around town.

Windy Kaiama, RN, administers the flu vaccine to Donna Puaa.

By Marie Nowell and Catherine Cluett

The Molokai Health System purchased 500 flu immunization doses, and gave over 120 shots to patients at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. It was the second of four locations where the shots are being administered around the island over the course of a week and a half. Immunizations will continue at Lanikeha and Maunaloa this week.
Janice Kalanihuia of Molokai General Hospital says practitioners of many Molokai health organizations banded together for the project including Dr. Dan McGuire, Molokai Community Health Center, Molokai Drug Store, Molokai Family Health Center, Molokai General Hospital, and Na Pu’uwai.

“We want to make sure as many people as possible are immunized on Molokai,” she said. The shots are free to those whose insurance companies won’t cover the immunization.

Vaccinations are especially recommended children 6 months through 18 years of age and anyone 50 years. Although the free immunizations are only being given to adults, it is recommended to anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill or spreading the flu virus to others.

Flu viruses are always changing, so scientists update the vaccine each year to match those most likely to cause flu that year. Therefore, an annual vaccination is recommended. When there is a close match in virus strains, the vaccine protects most people from serious illness, and even without a close match, some protection is still provided. The vaccine will not prevent “flu-like” illnesses caused by other viruses.

Risks and side effects are extremely minimal, but like any medicine, can cause serious health problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Mild problems may include fever, aches, and/or soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given.

Any slight discomfort for short periods is well worth it to keep you healthy during the flu season.

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