Adult Flu Shot Clinics All Set for November 18

DATE: November 16, 2004

CONTACT: Communication Office
863-7281

BURLINGTON, VT — The Vermont Department of Health and the state’s home health agencies and VNAs are ready to vaccinate about 12,000 Vermonters against the flu on Thursday, Nov. 18 at clinic locations around the state (clinic site list below).

These clinics are only for very high risk adult Vermonters — the frail elderly, people with very serious medical conditions, and pregnant women — who have had no other way to get a flu shot so far.

“For most of us, getting the flu can be miserable, but not life-threatening,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Paul Jarris. “So if you are healthy, we are asking you to skip getting a flu shot this year so there’s enough vaccine for those who need it most.”

“And if you are eligible for a flu shot this year, please come to one of the clinics,” said Dr. Jarris. “If you have questions, check www.healthyvermonters.info or call our information line at 800-695-0022.

Thursday’s clinics will not be the last chance for high risk adults to get vaccine. “More vaccine is on the way. We expect about 16,000 additional doses to start coming into the state next month,” said Dr. Jarris.

Who is eligible for Flu Shot Clinics:

These clinics are for adults older than 18 who have one or more chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, a blood disorder or a weakened immune system that requires frequent or ongoing medical management. These clinics are also for frail elders (people age 65 or older who use a crutch, cane or walker or otherwise need assistance to get around), and pregnant women.

Who is not eligible for Flu Shot Clinics:

These clinics are NOT for people who have only mild asthma, mild emphysema or chronic bronchitis that only requires infrequent use of a medicine like albuterol (fewer than three times a week) — unless they are 50 years or older.

These clinics are NOT for people who have diabetes that is controlled by diet and exercise — unless they are 50 years or older.

These clinics are NOT for people whose only health condition is high cholesterol, controlled blood pressure, arthritis or dermatitis.

What to bring to the clinic:

People will be asked to sign a paper verifying that they meet the criteria for a flu shot, but will not need to bring a note from their doctor. A suggested fee of up to $15 may be charged. For those who cannot afford the payment, clinic sponsors will accept whatever amount individuals can afford.

Medicaid and Medicare Part B will cover the charge of vaccine for people who have this coverage, so bring your Medicaid or Medicare card to the clinic with you.

For the comfort of people waiting in line for flu shots, clinic sponsors suggest that they wear comfortable shoes, warm clothing, and bring snacks and water. Refreshments will not be available at most sites.

The clinics have been organized by the state’s home health agencies and Visiting Nurses Associations, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health. Vaccine for these clinics came from a donation by the Visiting Nurses Associations of America and supplies recovered from hospitals and health care providers around the state.

Vermont Emergency Management, the Vermont State Police, local law enforcement and emergency response volunteers are working together to ensure safe traffic flow at the clinic sites.

Flu Shot or Not, How to Prevent the Flu

Beginning this week, the Vermont Department of Health is running TV and radio ads featuring New England storyteller Willem Lange with this flu prevention message:

“This year there’s a flu vaccine shortage. Time to roll up our sleeves and do what we do best—look after our neighbors. If you’re not at high risk for flu complications, skip your shot. Another year someone might do the same for you. In the meantime: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Wash your hands often. Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes. And please stay home if you’re sick. Learn more at www.healthyvermonters.info.”

Newspaper ads will deliver a similar message.

For More Information

For questions about flu or the flu vaccine, visit the Health Department’s website (www.healthyvermonters.info) or call 800-695-0022 (toll-free in state) during business hours.