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Flu shots ready

The turn of the weather from summer to fall to winter marks the beginning of the annual flu season.

And to help combat the worst effects of the flu, local health agencies are making flu shots available to the public.

Mary John Holtzapfel, the immunization coordinator for the Lawrence County Health Department, and Alicia Fannin, RN, BSN, the director of nursing for the Ironton Health Department, said that so far no one knows if it is going to be a bad flu season or not.

“We really have no way of forecasting that,” Holtzapfel said. “We just try to be ready if it is and the best way for people to do that is for people to get their flu shots regardless of what it may be.”

This year’s flu shot, according to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is a combination of three inactivated influenza viruses including one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus.

The vaccine is changed each year, based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. The shot is recommended for nearly everyone over 6-months of age.

Fannin said the Ironton Health Department promotes vaccines because it helps.

“The elderly and children especially are at risk for getting the flu,” she said. “By getting the flu shot we can prevent a lot of illnesses and may be even deaths.”

Holtzapfel said the flu shots are widely available this year, unlike some years.

“There is plenty of vaccine to go around this year, there were additional manufacturers and it is out early this year,” she said.

Flu shots are $10 at the Lawrence County Health Department. Its October Flu Clinic schedule is today from 1-3 p.m., Oct. 9 from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Oct. 10 from 1-3 p.m., Oct. 15 from 1-3 p.m., Oct. 16 from 1-3 p.m., Oct. 20 from 9-11 a.m., Oct. 21 from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 22 from 1-3 p.m., Oct. 23 from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Oct. 24 from 10-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Oct. 27 from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Oct. 29 from 1-3 p.m. and Oct. 30 from 1-3 p.m.

The Lawrence County Health Department is at 2122 S. Eighth St. in Ironton. For more information call (740) 532-3962.

The Ironton City Health Department has also begun giving flu shots at $15. The shots are available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m– 3 p.m. For more information call 532-2172. They will be having outreach clinics later in the month and in November.