News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Seasonal flu shots appointments available in Elk Rapids on October 13
H1N1 (swine) flu shots will be available soon

(October 1, 2009) The flu season is starting and will last through the fall and winter. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu.

"The best way to protect yourself against the seasonal flu is to get a seasonal flu shot every year," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Different flu viruses circulate each year and the strains of influenza virus that cause seasonal flu change almost every flu season, which is why a different influenza vaccine is recommended each year."

Public health nurses from the Health Department will be offering seasonal flu shots on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Lakeland Elementary School in Elk Rapids. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 800-432-4121. Cost for a seasonal flu shot is $25; Medicaid and Medicare covers the cost of the seasonal flu shot and will be accepted on site.

Meyerson said seasonal flu shots are recommended for nearly everyone. According to the CDC, the only people who should not get a seasonal flu shot are those who are allergic to eggs, who have had a previous severe reaction to a flu shot, or who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine is not available yet, although local public health officials have been told to expect their first doses soon. The CDC has identified the following “vaccine priority groups” because individuals in these categories are more likely to develop complications from the H1N1 flu:

H1N1 flu shots will be available for adults 65 and older after the priority vaccine groups have been immunized. Good habits can help prevent the spread of both types of flu.

Practice every day actions to avoid becoming ill: 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 flu vaccination or to schedule a seasonal flu shot, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121.