From the Harford County Health Department:
The Harford County Health Department has announced it will again conduct a public, “drive-through” seasonal influenza vaccination clinic this year at the Ripken Stadium, located at 873 Long Drive in Aberdeen, Maryland on Friday, October 15, 2010 from 10:00am until 2:00pm.
Harford County Health Officer, Susan Kelly states, “We have had tremendous public response to our Drive-Through Clinic in the past. This presents a great option for families to get their flu vaccinations in the convenience of their own vehicles, while providing our health department staff with an excellent opportunity to exercise emergency preparedness as part of our ongoing commitment to critical event response.”
This is the only public seasonal flu vaccination clinic the Health Department plans to implement this flu season. Only the injectable form of the vaccine will be available for those ages six moths and older. No FluMist will be available at the clinic. For those with Medicare Part B, the vaccine is free. For all others, including any area students wishing to receive the injectable form of flu vaccine, the charge is $20.00 payable by cash or check. Everyone planning on receiving a flu shot should wear a short sleeve or loose fitting shirt to allow the nurse access to the upper arm area where the shot will be given.
This year’s seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains, including H1N1, that research predicts will cause the most illness during the current flu season. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not anticipate an influenza vaccine shortage this year and sufficient opportunities exist for all Harford County residents to be immunized through participating community physician and retail partners. To protect against influenza, vaccination is recommended for all adults and children aged 6 months and older, including all those that previously received H1N1 vaccination. However, the vaccine currently is not approved for children younger than 6 months of age.
Viral influenza is a contagious and potentially very serious respiratory illness that can cause severe complications such as pneumonia, dehydration and sinus infections, and can also worsen chronic heart or lung disease. It is spread from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing and also can be spread through direct contact with an infected person. People at higher risk for complications from the flu generally include children 6 to 23 months of age, people 65 years old and older, those with weakened immune systems or long-term health problems such as heart or lung disease, those living in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or rehabilitation center, and pregnant women in the second or third trimester.
According to Ms. Kelly, on average, more than 226,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu every year in the United States. She reminds the public that flu prevention can be as simple as washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, practicing effective cough and sneeze etiquette by covering your nose and mouth with the sleeve of your shirt, and by getting vaccinated against influenza in the fall, preferably between October and mid-November. Adds Ms. Kelly, “Vaccination is safe and reliable, and is recommended as the single most important measure in preventing the spread of influenza as well as protecting against serious illness it can cause.”
In the event of inclement weather on the day of the Ripken Stadium drive-through flu vaccination clinic, the public is asked to call 410-612-1779 for updates regarding the possibility of cancellation, as well as for information about an alternate date.
For more information about seasonal influenza or flu vaccination recommendations, visit the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/flu/, the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com or contact the Health Department at 410-612-1779.