2011 Media Releases

Date:
September 27, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Judith Halstead, MS, Health Director, 402-441-8001
Tim Timmons, RN, Communicable Disease Program Supervisor, 402-441-8056

Flu Vaccine Recommended for Most Everyone

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is strongly encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to get a yearly flu immunization. Ample supplies of influenza vaccine are now available. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response and protection lasts about a year. In the United States, influenza season usually begins in October and can last until May.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Even though most people who catch the flu don't die, typically they feel bad (including fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue) for a week or two.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. While everyone should get a flu immunization each flu season, it's especially important that certain people get vaccinated yearly, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Those at high risk include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have certain conditions including, asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, diabetes, kidney disorders, liver disorders, metabolic disorders, weakened immune system, people younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, people who are obese

Other people for whom vaccination is especially important are:

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years of age with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children younger than 6 months of age (children younger than 6 months are at highest risk of flu-related complications but are too young to get vaccinated)

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will provide flu immunizations to children and low income and uninsured adults beginning October 3, 2011. All children between the ages of 6 months through 18 years of age can receive a flu vaccination as part of the Department's childhood immunization program. The Department will also provide flu vaccine to adults who are low-income and not covered by private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other thirdparty payers. Appointments are needed to obtain flu vaccinations through the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Please call 402-441-8065 for an appointment or more information. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is located at 32nd and O Streets. Client parking is available north of the building.