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Health officials urge Montanans to get flu shots


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State health officials are encouraging Montana residents to get flu shots as soon as they are available. While the swine flu virus has received a lot of attention, it is the seasonal influenza viruses that traditionally cause widespread illness during the fall and winter seasons. Anna Whiting Sorrell, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services, says the seasonal flu vaccine will be available soon. It will cover the three influenza viruses that are expected to show up in North America this fall and winter. Steven Helgerson, state medical officer, says the protection from receiving the flu vaccine will not wear off before the flu season is over, even if the vaccine is received in late August. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a vaccine against the swine flu is being developed and may be available for use this fall. The seasonal vaccine will not protect against swine flu.


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