Importance of Flu Shot Emphasized During National Influenza Vaccination Week

For Immediate Release

December 12, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 8-14, the Marion County Public Health Department reminds everyone that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

"Getting a flu shot every year is critically important for people to protect themselves, their family and others," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director of the Marion County Public Health Department. "I urge everyone to get a flu shot now because influenza is a life-threatening illness that can cost the life of anyone – child or adult.”

In Marion County, the flu season typically peaks in February and can last through late April.

The Marion County Public Health Department hosted an influenza summit for health care professionals on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis. Keynote speaker Dr. Raymond Strikas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized how the flu shot can help prevent influenza illness, hospitalization and death.

Dr. Strikas said that pregnant woman should get vaccinated since they are four times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu than women who are not pregnant. He also said people over the age of 65 and those with certain chronic medical conditions face health complications from the flu virus and should receive the vaccine annually. Children under the age of four are also vulnerable to complications from the flu.

Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting vaccinated for the first time need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected. If a child has not received a first dose, they should be vaccinated now. For children 6 months through 8 years of age and who have already received one dose of vaccine, parents should check with the child’s doctor to see if a second dose is needed.

Low-cost flu shots are available through the Marion County Public Health Department’s Nurse of the Day services at its district health offices. Flu vaccines are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-18 and free for children under the age of 2. Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines are $40 and tetanus (Td or Tdap) are $20. Medicare and Medicaid are accepted.

To find out locations and hours, visit www.mchd.com or call the Flu Hotline at 317-221-2121.

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Media Contact:

Curt Brantingham

Media/Public Information Coordinator

317-21-2316 (o) │ 317-525-745o (c)

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