News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Flu vaccination recommended for most everyone over six months old

(October 7, 2008) As flu season approaches, public health officials are recommending flu shots for nearly everyone over six months of age. Appointments are now available for community flu shot clinics as follows:

In addition, flu shot appointments are available at Health Department locations in Mancelona, Charlevoix, Petoskey/Harbor Springs, and Gaylord. Cost is $25 for flu vaccine and $30 for pneumonia; Medicare and Medicaid accepted. Call 800-432-4121 to schedule an appointment.

Unlike some previous years, there is no shortage of flu vaccine this season. In fact, there are about 145 million doses of flu vaccine available this year, an all-time high. That is three million more doses available than last year.

This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention expanded its recommendation about who should get the flu vaccine. Now, more than four out of five people are recommended to get an annual flu vaccine, including all children 6 months through 18 years of age.

“It is vital for parents and caregivers to realize that children experience the highest rates of influenza,” said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “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, 83 children in the U.S. died of flu and related complications.”

“The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year,” said Meyerson. “If you are a parent or child care worker, a health care professional, or have contact with people age 65 and older, protect those high-risk individuals by getting vaccinated.”

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 call your health care provider.