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With season approaching, flu shots encouraged

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The push is on for flu vaccinations.

Erie County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein says now is a good time to have your flu shot and possibly a pneumonia vaccination also. She suggests talking to your doctor about what you may need.

The health commissioner says earlier is better because there are several new strains of flu in the shot for which is there is no past immunity and the body needs time to adjust.

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Dr. Burstein, getting her annual flu shot, is encouraging county residents to do the same.

There are a variety of ways to get a shot this year, including the nasal spray vaccination.

Dr. Burstein says concerns about the flu this year are based on the amount of flu  in the Southern Hemisphere where flu season just ending. The Northern Hemisphere season is starting with the beginning of fall.

"Usually in Western New York the peak is in the winter -- December, January," said Burstein. "We're worried that this year it's actually going to be a much more serious year in terms of flu disease compared to last year."

Doctor Burstein says while everyone should have the vaccination, there are some even more at risk. The highest risk groups of becoming very ill if infected include the elderly, children under 2, people with health conditions, and pregnant women.

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Burstein's son, Josh, also got his flu shot Thursday.

To show how serious the health commissioner is about the vaccinations, Burstein had her shot in Tonawanda Pediatrics in East Amherst Thursday while her son Josh had the nasal spray vaccination.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.