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Health Department immunization clinic at Charlevoix Middle School has openings Nov. 14

CHARLEVOIX Residents seeking flu shots and other important immunizations are encouraged to contact the Health Department of Northwest Michigan at (800) 432-4121 to schedule one of the remaining appointments during its November 14th immunization clinic at Charlevoix Middle School, 108 E. Garfield Avenue in Charlevoix.

"The single best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated every year," said Joshua Meyerson, M.D., Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "That's why the Health Department offers these immunization clinics throughout the four-county health district."

Pat Fralick, the Health Department's Director of Family and Community Health, says the charge for a flu vaccine is $25, and charges for additional vaccines vary. "We can also bill Medicare, Medicaid, and several private health insurance companies for immunizations," Fralick added, noting that the Health Department does not turn away anyone age 18 or younger who is uninsured and unable to pay for immunizations required for school. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Fralick recommends making appointments at the Community Immunization Clinics. "We do quite a lot of preparation to make sure people can get in and out as quickly as possible," she said. "When we know how many are coming, we can bring plenty of vaccine and have adequate nursing staff. We can also identify any other vaccines individuals may need by checking Michigan Care Improvement Registry in advance, and we can administer them during that same appointment."

Influenza viruses are spread when someone who is sick with the flu coughs, sneezes or speaks, releasing viruses into the air for other people to breathe. When these viruses enter the nose, throat, or lungs, they begin to multiply, causing disease. The viruses can also be spread when a person touches a surface with flu viruses on it and then touches his or her nose or mouth.

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, or to schedule an appointment at the November 14th immunization clinic, call the Health Department at (800) 432-4121 weekdays between 8am and 5pm.