"Flu vaccine arrives, a nose ahead of the sniffles"

"Good news for those who like to guard against the flu by getting annual flu shots: the vaccine is here.We got lots, said Dorothy Hawthorn, pharmacist and owner of Bogard's Drug Store and Pharmacy in Silverdale.She has about 300 doses left, but getting more is no problem if demand warrants it. And it looks as if it might.We've had them coming in from Port Ludlow, Sequim, Port Angeles to get flu shots at Bogard's, Hawthorn said. We've even had some from Seattle come in. They've been shopping and someone told them to come over. They said they can't even get the vaccine in Seattle.Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs Officer Judith Robertson confirmed that the military has received most of its order for the vaccine as well.I believe most of it is in but we're still waiting for a little bit of it, she said. It's sort of like, it's in the mail.Although a glitch in the process delayed the vaccine from arriving earlier this fall as it traditionally does, local health authorities were not too alarmed about an epidemic.The flu season, which begins in November, doesn't kick in seriously for Kitsap County and environs until January, Hawthorn noted.It's just getting up here. It's been in Oregon, and I heard of two cases in Spokane, Hawthorn said.Concern about new flu strains coming over with people returning from the Olympic Games in Australia hasn't panned out either. Australia has already dealt with the flu.It hasn't seemed to come true yet, we haven't seen it. Whatever they get, their seasons are earlier than theirs - we follow them, Hawthorn said.The vaccine was delayed when the two major pharmaceutical companies had trouble extracting last season's virus to make this year's version.We're giving vaccine for the three strains that came in last year, it's always a year behind, Hawthorn said. But it's time to get the shots, because it takes about two weeks for the system to get up to speed to fight off the flu virus.Some people who get the shots might still get the flu, but not as severely as they would have, Hawthorn said.They won't spend two weeks in bed with it, she said.It's also an old wives's tale that people will get the flu from flu shots, she added.The vaccine is made from a killed virus, and theoretically should not cause the flu.But about 1 percent of the population might have a reaction, feeling bad for a day or two, Hawthorn said.Flu vaccinations are available at Bogard's Drug Store from 9 a.m.-6 p.m Monday through Friday and cost $15. The Bremerton-Kitsap County Health District also has plenty of vaccine available, said spokeswoman Kerri Dobblelaere. Vaccinations at the health district cost $10, and are available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the exception of Tuesday, Dec. 26. For more information call 337-5235.Department of Defense civilians may obtain flu immunizations at Naval Hospital Bremerton from 8:30 a.m.-7:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday; and at Branch Medical Clinic at Bangor from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 7-11 a.m. Thursdays. "

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