Ample flu vaccine is expected this year, said Mike Oricko, health commissioner at the Fulton County Health Department.
“This year there should be plenty of vaccine available for everyone 6 months of age and older. There are no restrictions anymore as to who can receive vaccine.”
The Health Department begins its vaccination campaign Sept. 22 and is offering clinics by appointment, walk-in clinics, clinics for children and their parents, clinics in county communities and a drive-thru clinic in the Health Department parking lot.
The clinic in Fayette is scheduled Nov. 1 and clinic in Lyons is planned Oct. 26.
Each flu season the World Health Organization (WHO) monitors the circulating flu strains around the world and decides which strains will go into the next year’s vaccine. This year the flu vaccine contains H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus and is the same vaccine as last year.
Several years ago a new high-dose flu vaccine was introduced for people 65 years of age and older. Studies have found that older adults were not responding as well to the standard-dose influenza vaccine so this higher dose vaccine was developed. It has a slightly different formulation to boost immunity levels in older citizens. This age group typically has a higher rate of flu-related illness, hospitalization and death.
“Because this vaccine has been well tolerated”, Oricko said, “we will be using it to vaccinate all adults over the age of 65, but persons will have the option of receiving the standard formulation if they choose“.
The cost of the flu shot is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages six months through 18 years, but no one will be turned away because of inability to pay. Hi-dose flu vaccine will cost $35 per dose but for those with Medicare Plan B coverage, the cost will be billed to Medicare. Medicaid will be accepted.
If you have an insurance plan that replaces your Medicare B, you should consider receiving your vaccination through your health care provider to assure coverage. Most private physicians also offer seasonal flu shots to their patients.
FluMist, an intranasal flu vaccine, will also be offered to healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49 years. This may be of interest to those who want to protect themselves from the flu but fear getting a shot. The cost of the FluMist is the same as the flu shot.
The Fulton County Health Department will be offering flu shots at the 606 S. Shoop Ave. location and at other locations with dates and times listed below. The complete schedule is also posted on the web at www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com.
• APPOINTMENTS—For clinics by appointment, call 419/337-0915. Adults are preferred. Clinics are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 22, and from 7 to 11 a.m. Sept. 27.
• DRIVE-THRU CLINIC—A drive-through clinic is scheduled in the health department parking lot from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 22. It is by appointment only. Any adult welcome, but preference given to adults who have difficulty walking or standing in line; adults over the age of 65; and children with mobility issues.
• CHILDREN—Children’s clinics, and their parents, also, are planned on three days: from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 13, Oct. 27 and Nov. 10.
• WALK-IN—Walk-In clinics for adults are scheduled from 10 a.m. until noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 29; and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Nov. 8. at the Fulton County Senior Center; noon to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Delta Open Door; noon to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Swanton Public Library; noon to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Archbold Library; noon to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Lyons Fire Station; noon to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Fayette Opera House; and noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Evergreen Community Library.