In both Georgia and specifically in DeKalb County, the number of people reporting an influenza-like illness to their doctor is increasing. In fact, Georgia has the highest percentage of doctor visits for flu-like symptoms in the country. DeKalb also has a high rate.
“The best way to fight the flu is by getting the flu shot. To encourage people to get vaccinated, the DeKalb County Board of Health has just lowered our flu shot price to $15,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., district health director of the Board of Health. In addition to the injectable flu vaccine, two other vaccines are available. One is the FluMist nasal spray vaccine for children. The other is Fluzone High-Dose, for people 65 years and older.
“We use the term ‘influenza-like illness’ when talking about the flu because very few people with symptoms are actually tested for the influenza virus,” explained Dr. Ford. “And, of course, not everyone who is tested has the flu. So, we must rely on the percentage of doctor visits for influenza-like illness to indicate how much flu activity there may be in our community.”
This monitoring is possible thanks to a handful of local health care providers that report on their flu-like cases to the Board of Health. They also submit specimens for laboratory testing.
The DeKalb County Board of Health offers flu vaccinations on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the following locations: Clifton Springs Health Center, 3110 Clifton Springs Road, Decatur, 404-244-2200; East DeKalb Health Center,
2277 S. Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road, Lithonia, 770-484-2600; North DeKalb Health Center, 3807 Clairmont Road, NE, Chamblee, 770-454-1144 and T.O. Vinson Health Center, 440 Winn Way, Decatur, 404-294-3762.
The Board of Health’s fees for flu vaccines are: injectable flu vaccination: $15 (covered by Medicaid, Medicare and PeachCare for Kids); injectable flu vaccination and FluMist for Vaccines for Children-eligible children: $14.81; and Fluzone High-Dose: $40 (covered by Medicare).
Checks (on Georgia banks), cash, credit cards, Medicaid, Medicare (part B) and PeachCare for Kids are accepted. Please bring your card.
For more information about the DeKalb County Board of Health’s flu vaccination program, call (404) 508-7880 or visit www.dekalbhealth.net.