Flu shot appointments available

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2005

Officials at the Lawrence County Health Department are asking seniors and children to make a very exclusive appointment Š with the flu shot.

The Ohio Department of Health has provided 240,000 doses of influenza vaccine to Ohio's local health departments. The health department has decided that the best way to get their share to the people that need them was to offer the shots by appointment only.

&#8220It's to avoid the long lines we had last year where people were waiting two or three hours to get shots, this way they can have a specific time to come and they can get in and out,” Lawrence County Health Department spokesperson Maxine Lewis said.

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The ODH-supplied vaccine is intended only for those at the highest risk for flu-related problems. That group includes adults 65 years and older, children 6 to 23 months, those with chronic illnesses like asthma and women who will be pregnant during flu season.

&#8220It will be available to others later, but (the ODH) wants that group vaccinated first,” Lewis said.

Pneumonia is the most common complication associated with the flu and causes more than 3,000 death in Ohio every year, which puts the flu and pneumonia among the top 10 causes of death in the state.

Those who can't make it to Ironton will be able to get their shots at clinics throughout the county. Although the schedule for those is not yet set, Lewis said it appears that they will be held in Proctorville and Symmes Valley.

The ODH says that although October to January is the ideal time to be immunized, flu vaccinations can be effective as late as March. Flu season in Ohio typically runs from November to mid-March.

For those who are 65 years or older, the shots will be paid for through Medicare. Others can get the vaccine for $10 at the county health department. Those wishing to make appointments can reach the Lawrence County Health Department at (740) 532-3962.

The Ironton Health Department is also offering the shots, but they require no appointments.