The Vermont Department of Health Urges All Vermonters to Get Their Flu Vaccination

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2003

Contact: Corbett Sionainn
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153

BURLINGTON—The Vermont Department of Health announced today that clinics have been scheduled throughout the state for Vermonters to get their flu vaccination. This year supplies of vaccine are plentiful across the state.

“This year there is plenty of vaccine available for all Vermonters so they can avoid getting influenza,” said Vermont’s Commissioner of Health Paul Jarris, MD, MBA. “In particular, people over 50 and people with chronic disease should get vaccinated.”

Although anyone who wants the vaccination should be able to get it this year, the Department of Health recommends that those at highest risk for complications from influenza get their vaccination in October or November.

People who should get an influenza vaccination include:

Additionally, any person who shares a household with anyone in the above-mentioned groups, or any healthcare provider, should get vaccinated as well. Healthy children 2–18 years of age are also encouraged to get vaccinated.

There are two types of influenza vaccine available this year. The flu shot is made of inactivated (killed) influenza virus. A new vaccine made of live virus is also available as a nasal spray. The nasal spray vaccine should only be used for healthy people ages 5–49. Vermonters should check with their physician about the vaccines.

Influenza is caused by a virus that is spread from person to person. It is highly contagious and can cause serious complications such as pneumonia. Typical influenza illness includes fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches that may last for a week or more. Most people are sick for a few days but some may become sicker and may need to be hospitalized.

Each year, over 112,000 people are hospitalized for influenza-related illness and over 36,000 deaths occur in the U.S. Rates of infection are highest among children but rates of serious illness and death are highest among people over 65 years of age and persons of any age who have chronic medical conditions.

For more information on the influenza, the vaccines and a Vermont flu clinic schedule, visit the Health Department website at www.healthyvermonters.info