The season for spreading the influenza virus from one person to another is quickly approaching.
Kim Cupp, Health Commissioner at Fulton County Health Department, reminds residents that one of the best ways to protect themselves from this respiratory illness is to get vaccinated. This year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention “recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.”
There are many convenient opportunities for people to be vaccinated. Local pharmacies have been providing flu vaccines for several weeks now. Physicians’ offices and community urgent care facilities are also providing flu vaccines to their patients.
The complete schedule for community-based clinics follows, and is posted on the FCHD website. Two family flu clinics are planned for children and their parent to be vaccinated against the flu. Additionally, appointments can be made for children to get vaccinated in the department’s regular immunization clinics.
Because there are so many opportunities for both adults and children to be vaccinated throughout the county, the number of people vaccinated in some of the community-based clinics has declined. As a result, FCHD is focusing its flu shot efforts in communities where adults and children do not have access to a physician, pharmacy, clinic or urgent care that can provide the vaccine to individuals in their community.
Clinics will be held in Delta, Fayette, Lyons, Metamora, and Swanton. A survey of other pharmacies throughout the county confirm they will vaccinate adults and children aged seven and above on a walk-in basis.
It is important to know about the types of vaccines available. For children and adults up to age 65, the CDC has implemented all recombinant vaccine will be quadrivalent. A quadrivalent vaccine provides protection against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B viruses.
For adults age 65 and above, the High-dose vaccine is given at FCHD and other local providers. High-dose vaccine has been available for several years, and offers a higher dose of antigen in the vaccine, which in turn is supposed to give individuals age 65 and above a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
Research is ongoing about the High-dose, but it has been reported that the High-dose has shown to lower the risk of hospital admissions, especially those living in long-term care facilities (CDC, 2017).
This year, all flu vaccines contain the A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus, and the B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (Victoria lineage). The quadrivalent vaccine contains the above three strains plus the additional B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage).
FCHD is contracted with 12 health insurance companies, a majority of the Medicare and Medicaid plans. The cost of the vaccination will be billed to these plans. If you have a plan with whom FCHD is not contracted, the cost is $45 for quadrivalent vaccine for children and adults through age 64. The High-dose vaccine for persons age 65 and above is $70. A sliding fee scale is available for the administration fee if the person is uninsured. The important thing is to get vaccinated.
The FCHD will be offering vaccinations at 606 S. Shoop Ave. and other locations on the dates and times as listed. For updates, visit www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com.
FCHD – By appointment Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 3, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; walk-ins Mondays beginning Oct. 1, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Family Flu Clinic for children and parents, by appointment: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2-6 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 8, 2-6 p.m.
Walk-in clinics for adults at other locations: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Road to Wellness, St. Caspar Catholic Church, 1205 N. Shoop Ave., Wauseon; Thursday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-noon, Fulton County Senior Center, 240 Clinton St., Wauseon;
Community walk-in clinics for adults and children: Thursday, Oct. 4, 3-5 p.m., Open Door, 104 Monroe St., Delta; Monday, Oct. 15, 3-5:30 p.m., Lyons Fire Station, W. Morenci Street; Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2-5:30 p.m., Fayette Family Clinic, 305 E. Main St.; Monday, Oct. 22, 3-5:30 p.m., Evergreen Community Library, 253 Maple St., Metamora; Monday, Oct. 29, 3-5:30 p.m., Swanton Public Library, 305 Chestnut St.