More Vermonters Eligible for Flu Shots: Healthy Adults age 65+, Healthy Children up to age 2, Caregivers Added
DATE: December 15 , 2004
CONTACT: Communication Office
BURLINGTON, VT — The Vermont Department of Health today announced that more Vermonters are now eligible for flu shots.
The state’s recommendations for use of influenza vaccine were just expanded to include anyone age 65 and older, household contacts and caregivers of babies younger than 6 months, and caregivers of people who are immuno-compromised. Children 6 months up to age 2 are also eligible for flu shots now.
“Most Vermonters at highest risk have been vaccinated by now and more vaccine is coming into the state,” said Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD. “It’s now time for the next group of Vermonters at risk to step up for flu shots. It’s not too late to get your flu shot and it’s important that you do so.”
The first two cases of influenza in Vermont were confirmed by the Health Department Laboratory last week, marking the start of the flu season.
Since a severe shortage of flu vaccine nationally was announced in early October, the Vermont Department of Health has been working closely with the state’s health leadership, health care providers, insurers, the home health agencies and Visiting Nurses Associations to move vaccine to people who, due to old or young age or medical condition, would be most at risk of serious complications or death from the flu.
Gov. Jim Douglas praised Vermonters for their generosity, but urged anyone who is eligible to call their health care provider or local home health agency to schedule a shot.
“Vermonters really pulled together, as they always do, to see that their neighbors in need were provided for,” said Gov. Douglas. “Now it’s time for many more of you to get your shot – to protect yourself and others.”
Vaccine is available now in many doctor’s offices for eligible children and adults.
The state’s Visiting Nurse Associations and home health agencies are still holding flu shot clinics or giving flu shots by appointment at locations around the state for high-risk adults. Clinics in Addison, Bennington, and Franklin counties have recently been added.
Chittenden County VNA will be holding additional clinics during the week of December 27; locations, dates and times will be posted on the Health Department’s website.
For the current schedule of clinics or for more information, check with your local home health agency, the Health Department’s website www.healthyvermonters.info or call the Health Department’s information line at 800-695-0022 during regular business hours.
Who is Eligible for Flu Shots
Vermont’s current recommendations for use of influenza vaccine include:
- NEW: any child age 6 to 23 months
- children age 6 months to 18 years old with serious medical conditions
- NEW: household contacts (parents or siblings) or out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months
- anyone age 18 or older with serious medical conditions
- pregnant women
- NEW: household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed (anyone undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis, anyone who has recently had an organ or bone marrow transplant, anyone who has AIDS, etc.)
- health care workers who provide direct patient care
- NEW: anyone age 65 or older
Keep Illness from Spreading
With or without the flu shot, there are actions everyone can take to stay healthy and keep illness from spreading:
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- wash your hands well and often with soap and water
- use a hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available
- keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth so that germs don’t have a way in
If you’re sick, don’t spread your germs to others:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue every time you sneeze or cough
- put the tissue into the trash
- wash your hands with soap and water
- stay home
Influenza is caused by a virus that is spread from person to person, and is highly contagious. Illness often includes fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches that last for a week or longer. Children can also experience fever and vomiting. Influenza can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, especially in the elderly or people with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.