Health Dept: Flu Express Begins Next Week

October 23, 2014

Next week, the flu vaccine will be available to the public from the Department of Health at a cost of $10.00 per shot for adults and children. Persons over the age of 65 will receive this vaccine free of charge.

A spokesperson said, “The Department of Health will be offering influenza immunization in the community as well as the “Flu Express.” The “Flu Express” will enable people to drive to a designated site and receive the flu vaccine while waiting in their car; without getting out. This will make it easier for some people to access the vaccine.

  • St. George’s – Pennos Bay [enter via Tiger Bay Gardens] on October 28 from 10.00am 2.00pm
  • Warwick – 70 Middle Road [under the Rubber Tree] on October 29 from 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Sandys – St. James Church Hall Parking Lots [on Sandys Main Road] on October 30 from 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Hamilton – Hamilton Health Centre at 67 Victoria Street [in the car park] on November 1 from 10.00am – 2.00pm

“Those who should consider attending the Flu Express include:

  • Persons 65 years and older
  • Healthy adults who are in close contact with the elderly, infants and children, and any persons with chronic medical conditions
  • Children aged 10 years and older
  • Healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Persons that receive the flu shot each year
  • Persons with chronic health problems that are at risk of complications from the flu, e.g. diabetics, asthmatics and those with heart disease. They should inform their doctor when they have been vaccinated

“Flu injections will only be offered at the “Flu Express” on the specified dates to individuals in good health without active infections.

You will not be given the shot if:

  • You have allergies to eggs, chicken products, or any component of the vaccine
  • You have had a reaction to the flu shot before
  • You have a fever
  • You have had convulsions, in the last 12 months

“Please dress comfortably to allow the nurse easy access to the injection site in the upper arm. Please have the correct cash amount ready with your attendance to the Flu Express; credit/debit card facilities will not be available at the Flu Express sites].

“Benefits of the flu vaccine include:

  • Decreased absenteeism from work or school
  • Increased wellness in your steps to maintaining your optimum health
  • Increased quality of life for our community especially the seniors, infants and children and persons at risk of complications from the flu
  • Decreased chance of contracting influenza during pregnancy
  • Increased protection against influenza during travel abroad

“In protecting yourself against influenza, you also protect your family, your household, your workplace and ultimately; your community.

“The flu vaccine will be available at:

  • Hamilton Health Centre Monday to Friday [Ground Floor] 8.30am – 11.30am
  • Somerset Health Centre Tuesdays 2.00pm – 4.00pm
  • St George’s Health Centre Fridays 2.00pm – 4.00pm

“Flu vaccine will also be available from most private physicians.

“Influenza or ‘flu,’ is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the influenza virus. It is generally spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes from an infected individual.

“In the USA, 20-30 thousand; mostly elderly people, die each year from complications of flu.

“Outbreaks of flu are most common in the winter and occur each year, peaking in the months of January & February in the northern hemisphere and in July & August in the southern hemisphere.

“These annual outbreaks are due to minor changes, [‘viral shifts]’ in the surface proteins of the virus, which enable them to evade the immunity that individuals developed following a previous infection or a flu injection.

“Having an annual flu injection provides a high level of immunity to the current strains of flu virus. Individuals who have had flu before or been immunized previously will only have partial immunity to this seasons flu. They are vulnerable, but may have less severe symptoms.

“Symptoms of flu develop two to four days after exposure. Typically, persons experience a sudden onset of sore throat, and runny nose with high fever, headache, backache, muscle pains fatigue and general malaise. Although it is unpleasant and debilitating, most people recover after a few days.

“Extra fluids, bed rest and aspirin or acetaminophen are all that are needed. [Aspirin is not indicated for children with flu-like symptoms because it may cause Reyes syndrome].

“In some people, flu can be quite serious because it may increase their risk of developing complications such as pneumonia.

“The very young, the frail elderly, pregnant women, and people with other medical conditions are those most likely to develop complications. If cough, high fever, or sickness persists beyond a few days; especially in these groups, a physician should be consulted in the event that antibiotics or other medications are required for a possible secondary infection.

“The chance of contracting flu and other upper respiratory infections can be reduced by frequent hand washing practices, by ‘covering’ coughs and sneezes, disposing of soiled tissues and avoiding crowded places.

“The flu vaccine is a safe and highly effective method of preventing most cases of flu. Side effects are rare and usually mild.

“The flu vaccine currently available has been designed to provide protection against the most likely circulating strains of influenza virus for the 2014/15 flu season. This vaccine contains [3] strains.

“It is an ‘inactivated’ vaccine, that is, it contains killed viruses and therefore cannot cause flu. It is administered by injection and is safe from ages 6 months onwards.

“Influenza vaccine is recommended for all persons over the age of 6 months.

“Priority groups include: adults in contact with children, the elderly, persons with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, healthcare workers and caregivers and persons 6 months and older with chronic medical conditions including diabetes, heart or lung conditions, asthma, sickle cell anaemia and immune system diseases.

“Individuals under their physician’s care for chronic medical conditions and children under the age of three years are asked to obtain a prescription for their flu immunization from their private physician.”

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