Fulton County Health Department Health Commissioner Kim Cupp reminded residents that flu season is quickly approaching, and said one of the best ways to be protected is to get vaccinated.
“Since February 2010, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended annual influenza vaccination for all people age six months of age and older,” she said.
Cupp reported plenty of vaccine available and said most insurance plans are covering the cost. She said it’s important for parents, siblings, and grandparents of infants under the age of six months to get vaccinated, since that can help to prevent influenza in the infants, who cannot be vaccinated themselves.
The Fulton County Health Department provides flu vaccines by appointment every Monday, with the first adult “walk-in” clinic of the season Thursday, Sept. 22, at 606 S. Shoop Ave. in Wauseon. There will also be appointment clinics for children and their parents, as well as “walk-in” clinics at various locations throughout the county.
People with mobility issues or who have health problems that make it difficult to stand for a period of time should call the Health Department and arrange for vaccination in their vehicle.
This year, all flu vaccines contain the A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus, and the B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (Victoria Lineage). The quadrivalent vaccine contains the above three strains plus the additional B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage) strain. The county health department provides quadrivalent vaccines for children and for adults under the age of 64 to protect against four strains of influenza. Unfortunately, the live attenuated influenza vaccine, commonly known as FluMist nasal spray, is not recommended for use this season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
For those aged 65 and above, “high-dose” vaccine is administered. It protects against three strains of influenza viruses, contains four times as much antigen per strain, and provides a much higher immune response in this group. Researchers found that mature adults have better protection against B viruses than younger people due to previous exposure. Because it’s not likely that people over the age of 65 will become ill with a B strain of influenza, it’s much better for them to get the “high-dose” vaccine.
People younger than 65 should get the “quadrivalent” vaccine. The vaccine will cost more, but will give additional protection. Ask the vaccine provider what type of vaccine is being given. Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans are paying for all types of influenza vaccines; be sure to check your plan’s coverage.
The county health department is contracted with seven health insurance companies, a majority of the Medicare plans, and Medicaid. For those without insurance or a plan with which the health department is contracted, the cost is $45 for quadrivalent vaccine for children and adults through age 64. The high-dose vaccine for persons aged 65 and above is $60. A sliding fee scale is available for the administration fee if the person is uninsured.
“The important thing is to get vaccinated,” Cupp said.
Approximately 36,000 people die in the U.S. each year of the seasonal flu and its complications. The symptoms of influenza include fever, chills, upper respiratory congestion with cough, body aches, and fatigue. It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine to be protected against the flu, so the CDC recommends that people be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in their community.
“Everyone is at risk for the flu,” Cupp said. “Take the time to get a vaccination for yourself and encourage your family members to do the same. “
The Fulton County Health Department will be offering vaccinations in Wauseon and at other locations on the following dates and times. For updates, visit www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com.
• Clinic By Appointment – Mondays from Sept. 19-Oct. 3, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.; Wednesdays from Oct. 5-26, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 419-337-0915 to make an appointment. Adults preferred.
• Walk-In Clinics for Adults – Thursday, Sept. 22, noon-6 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 29, 9 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m.; Mondays beginning Oct. 17; adults may walk in for flu vaccinations from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Walk-In Clinics for Adults at other locations – Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1-3 p.m., Fairlawn Haven Wyse Commons, Archbold; Tuesday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Road to Wellness, St. Caspar Catholic Church, Wauseon; Thursday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-noon, Fulton County Senior Center, Wauseon; Thursday, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Northwest State Community College, Archbold.
• Family Flu Clinic For children and parents – call 419-337-0915 to make appointment. Thursday, Oct. 13, 2-6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2-6 p.m.
Vaccines will also be given, when available, during regular immunization clinics on the first and third Thursday of each month from 2-6 p.m. and every Friday from 8:30 a.m.-noon.
• Community Walk-In Clinics, adults and children – Thursday, Oct. 11, 2-5:30 p.m., Open Door, 104 Monroe St., Delta; Thursday, Oct. 13, 2-5 p.m., Archbold Library, 205 Stryker St.; Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2-5:30 p.m., Fayette Family Life Center, 305 E. Main St.; Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2-5:30 p.m., Lyons Fire Department, 409 W. Morenci St.; Thursday, Oct. 27, 2-5:30 p.m., Swanton Public Library, 305 Chestnut St.; Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2-5:30 p.m., Evergreen Community Library, 253 Maple St., Metamora.