Not too late for flu vaccine

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, January 1, 2009

The best way to prevent getting the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. And, the good news for those who have not received their flu shots yet is that it’s not too late.

The Pike County Health Department will be one of four local health departments that will be holding special flu clinics from 2 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

Medicare or Medicaid will pay for the flu shots. However, the health department will waive the usual fee for a flu shot during these special clinics for those who do not have Medicare or Medicaid.

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Eileen Rogers, Alabama Department of Public Health, said the flu season most often peaks in February in the United States and flu viruses can continue to cause illness into the spring and even as late as May.

“If a flu vaccination is not receive in early fall, receiving a flu vaccination in December, January and beyond is beneficial in most years,” Rogers said.

According to information released by the Alabama Department of Public Health, influenza activity has been low in the United States but that doesn’t mean it will continue to be.

The 2008-09 influenza vaccine is expected to be effective in preventing or reducing the severity of illness with currently circulating influenza viruses.

Since the influenza activity remains low and is expected to increase in the weeks and months to come, the Centers for Disease Control recommend that influenza vaccination efforts continue.

Flu shots are encouraged for children ages six months and older. Those who wish to decrease their chance of getting flu this year are encouraged to visit the Pike County Health Department for a flu shot on Jan. 6.