News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Flu vaccination recommended for children
Health Department advises parents, grandparents, siblings, and child care providers also be vaccinated against seasonal flu

(October 12, 2007) Public health officials are urging parents to schedule flu shots for their children. Infants and children six months to five years old should be vaccinated, along with children’s household contacts and caregivers. This is especially important for parents, grandparents, siblings, daycare providers, and babysitters, according to Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

“It is vital for parents and caregivers to realize that children experience the highest rates of influenza,” said Meyerson. “About one in three children contract the virus every year. Infants and children can develop severe complications, such as pneumonia, seizures, and ear or sinus infections. Last year, 68 children in the U.S. died of flu and related complications.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 220 million people, or 73 percent, of the U.S. population are recommended for an annual flu vaccine, though fewer than 100 million actually get vaccinated.

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. In addition to children, people who should get vaccinated each year are:

Every year in the U.S., an average of 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu, according to the CDC. “The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year,” Meyerson said. “There is plenty of vaccine available this flu season. With no vaccine shortages this year, everyone who wants a flu shot should be able to get one.”

The Health Department has many flu clinics scheduled throughout Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Some clinics are for adults only; others are open for babies over six months, children, and teens, as well as adults. Cost for flu shots is $25; pneumonia shots are also available for $30. Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. Appointments are required for all clinics. Call 800-432-4121 during business hours to schedule a flu shot appointment.

Antrim County Flu Clinics Charlevoix County Flu Clinics Emmet County Flu Clinics Otsego County Flu Clinics The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about seasonal flu vaccination, contact the Health Department at 800-432-4121 or or telephone your health care provider.