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Facing Harsh Season, Health Department Works to Make Flu Vaccine Available

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

With more than 1,000 cases and one death from flu reported in Northern Kentucky so far, the Northern Kentucky Health Department is emphasizing that it is important—and not too late—to seek out the flu vaccine, and sharing details of how Northern Kentucky residents can get vaccinated at the Health Department.

Flu vaccines, in shot form only, are available by appointment at the Health Department’s county health centers. The Health Department is charging $20 for the vaccine, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Some may have the fees reduced and even eliminated through either a federal program providing vaccines to children; or for individuals covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

“Flu vaccination is by far the best tool we have to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Fortunately, this year’s vaccine is a good match for the strains of the virus circulating in the community. The vaccine does take two weeks to be fully effective, but we anticipate that the flu will continue to circulate for several more weeks.”

Individuals wishing to be vaccinated are asked to call for an appointment. Health center staff will make an effort to get people in for vaccine as soon as possible, to the extent that staffing and vaccine supplies allow.

“The Health Department is just one of countless providers offering flu vaccine,” said Saddler. “The key is to get the vaccine, whether it’s from a pharmacy, private physician or other health care provider. Those who are already vaccinated should still take steps to prevent the flu as well, such as washing hands often and avoiding contact with those who are sick. If you are sick, stay home so you don’t infect others.”
           
Influenza is a serious disease that results in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every year. The classic symptoms of influenza include sudden onset of chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, dry cough and extreme fatigue. Children who develop flu symptoms should not be treated with aspirin, as it can lead to Reye’s Syndrome.

For more information on the flu, please visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/seasonalflu

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Media Policy
Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or Emily.Gresham-Wherle@nkyhealth.org, about any request or information before calling any other Health Department employee. Your calls and requests will be handled expediently with your deadlines in mind. Thank you for your interest and support in educating the community about public health issues.

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For statewide news releases, please visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.