As you prepare for fall, be sure to include “Get a flu shot” on your to do list. The DeKalb County Board of Health will begin offering flu shots on Monday, Aug. 29.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those six months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccination. As the Board of Health’s District Health Director S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., explains, “Everyone still needs to get a flu shot this season, even though this year’s vaccine targets the same virus strains as last year’s. This is because the immunity from last year’s shot may now be too low to protect you during the flu season.” The 2011-12 vaccine will protect against the H1N1 (type A), H3N2 (type A) and type B influenza viruses.
In addition to the standard flu vaccine, Fluzone high-dose will be available. It creates a stronger immune response in people 65 years and older than the standard vaccine.
There are specific groups at high risk of being hospitalized or dying from flu complications. The high-risk groups are children six months and older, adults 65 years of age and older, and pregnant women. Also at high risk are individuals with the following conditions:
- Asthma (even if it’s controlled or mild)
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve and muscle, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injury
- Chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis
- Heart disease, such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes mellitus
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV, AIDS or cancer and those on chronic steroids)
- People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- People who are morbidly obese (having a body mass index of 40 or greater)
The DeKalb County Board of Health’s fees are as follows:
- Flu vaccination: $20 (covered by Medicaid, Medicare and PeachCare for Kids)
- Flu vaccination for Vaccines for Children-eligible children: $14.81
- Fluzone high dose: $40 (covered by Medicare)
The Vaccines for Children program provides low-cost flu vaccines for uninsured and under-insured children ages 18 and younger. To see if your child is eligible, call your nearby Board of Health center.
Checks (on Georgia banks), cash, credit cards, Medicaid, Medicare (part B) and PeachCare for Kids are accepted. Please bring your card.
Individuals with health insurance from United Healthcare or Cigna through the State Health Benefit Plan can receive their flu vaccination at any Board of Health location. Please bring your card.
Good hygiene practices also can help reduce the spread of the flu. These include washing your hands often, coughing in to your sleeve, using a disinfectant to clean shared surfaces like doorknobs handles and staying home when you have flu-like symptoms.
Symptoms of influenza are a cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose and body aches. Diarrhea and vomiting may also occur and are more common in children than in adults.
Flu vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the following DeKalb County Board of Health 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.
- T.O. Vinson Health Center, 440 Winn Way, Decatur, 404-294-3762.
- Refugee Health Services, Richardson Health Center, 445 Winn Way, Decatur, 404-294-3818.
On-site flu clinics are available for businesses, faith-based and civic groups with 10 people or more. Call the nearest health center to arrange for an immunization team to come to your worksite, organization or place of worship.
For more information about the DeKalb County Board of Health’s flu vaccination program, call (404) 508-7880