SIDNEY — As the flu season draws near, the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department is offering flu vaccine for all age groups.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expanded their recommendation for the flu vaccine to include all children 6 months through 18. Studies show that healthy children bear a significant burden from influenza disease and are at increased risk of needing influenza-related medical care. There is also evidence indicating that reducing influenza transmission among children has the potential to reduce influenza among their household contacts and within the community. The ACIP also continues to recommend vaccination of all children who have certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or weakened immune systems. Vaccinating children younger than 5 continues to be a priority, because they are at higher risk for more severe influenza complications compared to older children. Household contacts of children younger than 6 months should be vaccinated, because children younger than 6 months cannot be given influenza vaccine, but they are the pediatric group at highest risk of influenza complications.
Groups at risk for developing flu-related complications are pregnant women; children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2; people 50 and older; people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; people who live in nursing homes and other long–term care facilities; people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.
The CDC also recommends that people 65 and older receive a high-dose flu vaccine. Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, aging decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is to give the older people a better immune response and therefore better protection against flu.
The first day for flu vaccines at the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department will be Oct. 19 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 12:30-5:30 p.m. After this clinic, all flu vaccines given at the Health Department will be by appointment.
Countywide clinics will be held in October as follows: Oct. 21 at Hardin-Houston School, 3-6 p.m.; Oct. 26 at Fort Loramie Elementary School, 3:30-6 p.m.; Oct. 28 at Anna Elementary School, 3:30-6 p.m.
Insurance cards must be presented at time of visit. If not covered by insurance, the following fees apply: $25 children 18 and under; $35 adults; $45 senior high dose for those 65 and older.
For information, call 498-7249.
This article was submitted by the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department.