Kim Cupp, Health Commissioner at the Fulton County Health Department, is reminding residents that flu season is quickly approaching. One of the best ways to gain protection from this respiratory illness is to get vaccinated.
“Since February 2010, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended annual influenza vaccination for all people age six months of age and older,” Cupp said.
Cupp reports that there is plenty of vaccine available and that most insurance plans are covering the cost of this preventive health service. She also commented on how important it is for parents, siblings and grandparents of infants under the age of 6 months to get vaccinated. This can help to prevent influenza in these little ones since they cannot be vaccinated themselves.
The Fulton County Health Department will provide flu vaccines by appointment every Monday beginning Sept. 21 with the first adult “walk-in” clinic of the season to be held on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 606 S. Shoop Ave. There will also be appointment clinics for children and their parents as well as “walk-in” clinics at various locations throughout the county.
This year all flu vaccines contain the A/California/H1N1-like virus, A/Switzerland/H3N2-like virus and the influenza B/Phuket/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage) strains. The quadrivalent vaccine contains the above three strains plus the additional B/Brisbane/2008-like strain (Victoria lineage). The health department provides quadrivalent vaccines for children and adults under the age of 64 to protect against these four strains of influenza.
For those aged 65 and above, high-dose vaccine is administered. It protects against three strains of influenza viruses. This vaccine 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 this person to get the high-dose vaccine.
As flu shots are advertised, some are less expensive than others. Remember that the comparison is not necessarily apples-to-apples. Quadrivalent vaccine will cost more, but will give additional protection. It is recommended to 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 the plan’s coverage.
The health department has contracted with seven health insurance companies, a majority of the Medicare plans, and Medicaid. For those who do not have insurance or a plan with which the health department is contracted, the cost is $40 for quadrivalent vaccine for children and adults through age 64. The high-dose vaccine for persons aged 65 and above is $55. A sliding fee scale is available for the administration fee if the person is uninsured.
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 flu vaccine for one to be protected against the flu, so the CDC recommends that people be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your 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 by appointments on Mondays from Sept. 21 through Oct. 5. To book an adult shot, call 419-337-0915.
Walk-in clinics for adults at the Fulton County Health Department are Thursday, Sept. 24 from noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to noon and Thursday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Beginning Monday, Oct. 19, there will be Monday walk-in clinics from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For adults and children there will be flu shot clinics on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. Call the Health Department to book an appointment.
Shots will also be given during regular immunization clinics when available on the first and third Thursdays of every month from 2 to 6 p.m. and every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Visit www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com for updates. Other clinics in the county include:
Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. Fairlawn Haven, Wyse Commons, Archbold
Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Road to Wellness, St. Caspar Catholic Church, Wauseon
Thursday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fulton County Senior Center, Wauseon
Thursday, Nov. 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Northwest State Community College
Community Walk-In Clinics
(Adults and Children)
from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 13 – Evergreen Community Library, 253 Maple St., Metamora
Thursday, Oct. 15 – Swanton Public Library, 305 Chestnut St., Swanton
Tuesday, Oct. 20 – Fayette Opera House,105 E. Main St. Fayette
Tuesday, Oct. 27 – Lyons Fire Station, W. Morenci St., Lyons
Tuesday, Nov. 3 – Archbold Community Library, 205 Stryker St. Archbold
Tuesday, Nov. 10 – Delta Open Door, 104 Monroe St. Delta