FREEPORT — It’s too early to say how this flu season, which officially began Oct. 1, will affect Brazoria County.
“We don’t ever really know,” said Jessica Guerra, CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport infection control nurse.
What health officials know is more people getting flu shots can serve as a deterrent against it being a bad one.
Last year, the vaccine was 40 to 60 percent effective, which is relatively good, Guerra said, and the hospital hopes to give out more than the 1,200 vaccines they did last year.
Nurses, nursing students and volunteers went to St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Freeport to give free flu shots Tuesday to adults.
They will repeat the effort today be at Lake Jackson Civic Center, 333 Highway 332 E., and Thursday at the Family Medicine Center, 1525 N. Brooks St., in Brazoria. Each clinic will run from 8:30 to 11 a.m. or until the allotted number of vaccines for that site run out.
They are prepared to give up to 2,000 shots, Guerra said. It’s part of the hospital system’s mission and values to take care of the community, she said.
“We’re ready and willing for whoever shows up,” Guerra said.
It’s not possible to get the flu from the flu shot, which is sometimes a fear, Guerra said. People can experience tiredness, but the vaccine does not administer a live virus, she said.
It takes two weeks to build up an immunity after getting the vaccine, so sometimes people get the flu from exposure before then, Guerra said.
Freeport resident Lanita Roberts came to get her flu shot Tuesday. She is a housekeeper, and when her client said she was going to get a free flu shot, Roberts asked to ride along, she said.
“I haven’t had it in a couple of years,” Roberts said.
It’s important to get the shot each year, volunteer Sue Merritt said.
“I’ve had the flu and I never want it again,” she said.
The more people get a flu shot, the less likely the virus is to spread around the county, Merritt said.
Ethel Tracy has been volunteering for the hospital since 1997 and helping with the annual flu shot clinics for about 15 years, she said.
“I feel like I’m helping others,” Tracy said.
Since she’s volunteered, Tracy has not had the flu, she said.
This was the first time Brazosport College nursing students, including Pamela Johnson, helped to administer the vaccines, Guerra said.
“It’s actually really fun,” Johnson said. “It’s a good experience.”
It’s important to get a flu shot and take vitamins at this time of year, she said.
Flu season is from Oct. 1 to March 31.