Flu vaccines available at health departments

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flu takes a big toll on children, especially young children.

Each year in the United States, on average, 20,000 children younger than five years old are hospitalized, and around 100 children die from seasonal flu-related complications.

Children under the age of 10 require two doses to be fully protected against this influenza, and second doses are available at Lawrence County Health Department and Ironton City Health Department.

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On Wednesday, both health departments will remain open from 4-7 p.m. to accommodate working parents.

Although the focus will be on children who still need the second dose, the vaccine will be available to anyone without medical contraindications. There is no charge for this vaccine.

With the circulation of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, more hospital stays and deaths among children have already been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this year than in any recent influenza season.

Nine influenza-related pediatric deaths were reported during the week ending January 16.

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, vaccination is our best protection against seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses.

Even though flu activity has decreased recently, a third wave of H1N1 is expected. It’s not too late to get the vaccine.

Babies under the age of 6 months are among those most vulnerable to developing serious, even fatal, complications from flu, yet they are too young to receive the influenza vaccine.

Because of this, it is very important for family members and caregivers to be vaccinated to help protect them as much as possible.

CDC is encouraging everyone 6 months of age and above, including those 65 years and older, to get the H1N1 vaccine.

For more information, please contact Lawrence County Health Department at (740) 532-3962 or Ironton City Health Department at (740) 532-2172.