Public Health Dept. Beginning Flu Shots Sep. 9
It's not flu season yet, but it will be soon enough.
The Sangamon County Department of Public Health will be administering the seasonal influenza vaccine at its clinic on South Grand Ave. in Springfield beginning Monday. The department will also set up 16 temporary clinics around the county and will offer home visits to those with mobility problem or who can't get to one of the clinics.
Though flu season is usually thought to be October through March, the vaccine takes two weeks to kick in.
County director of Public Health James Stone said the vaccine is recommended for anyone six months or older. Stone said anybody who has a chronic illness, is a health care worker or caregiver, or who have take care of children or the elderly should make sure they are vaccinated.
"Well, each year there are over 200,000 people as a result of complications from the flu," said Stone. "And on average 23,000 people will die each year in the United States due to complications from the flu."
The vaccine offered by the county is free for all Medicare B and Medicaid recipients. Otherwise, it's $27. For the first time, the department will also accept several private insurance companies.
A nasal spray for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 is an alternative to the shots.
The vaccine changes every year depending on which flu strains are expected to be the most prevalent, so a shot is needed annually.
At Washington Park, not everyone agreed on getting a flu shot.
Springfield resident Chris Lee was playing with his daughter, and said he might have her get one but did not plan on getting one for himself.
"Well, I'm pretty sure she could use it; she's young," Lee said. "But, I feel like my immunizations are pretty good anyways."
Josh Evans said he and his wife have a one-year-old child and another baby due in November.
"Since we had our first, both my wife and I realized the importance of getting our annual vaccinations, like our flu shot. So I'll definitely be getting one," Evans said.
Sacred Heart-Griffin principal Sister Margaret Joanne Grueter said while she was undecided, her school was already discussing offering it to students and parents.
"So, I'm encouraging others and still deciding what to do myself," Grueter said.