More Vermonters Eligible for Flu Shots: Limited Supply Still Available

DATE: January 7, 2005
Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON—The Vermont Department of Health today announced that more Vermonters are eligible for flu shots this month.

Anyone age 50 and older, and anyone who lives with or cares for a person who is considered at high risk for serious complications are now eligible. Children age 6 months to 18 years old who have mild asthma are also eligible now.

“Most Vermonters at highest risk from the flu - the very young, the very old, and people with serious medical conditions - have been vaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD.

“Flu season is now well underway, but it’s not yet too late. There is still a limited supply of vaccine left for adults and plenty of vaccine for children. I especially urge anyone who is high risk to get a flu shot now if you haven’t already done so. Call your health care provider or check the Health Department’s website or information line.”

Health officials estimate that approximately 100,000 doses of vaccine have come into the state to date, and most people at highest risk of serious complications or death from the flu have been vaccinated. A survey of health care providers and facilities last week showed that there is still a limited supply of vaccine left for healthy people age 50 and older, and plenty of vaccine for eligible children, including healthy children age 6 to 23 months.

Adult flu shot clinics are still being held in some locations. To find out where to get a flu shot, check the Health Department’s website at www.healthyvermonters.info or call the information line at 800-695-0022 during regular business hours.

The first two cases of flu in Vermont were confirmed on December 7 and flu is now widespread, with cases and outbreaks being reported from around the state. Typically the influenza season begins each year in December or January, and may continue through the following April.

“Getting a flu shot is not a guarantee that you will not get ill, but for most people it is very effective at preventing or lessening the severity of illness,” said Dr. Jarris.

Who is Eligible for Flu Shots:

Flu Mist, a nasal spray vaccine, is also available for healthy people age 5 to 49.

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.

To keep illness from spreading:

If you’re sick, don’t spread your germs to others: