Last Chance for Flu Shots: High Risk Adults, Any Child Age 6 Months and Older Eligible

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2005

Contact: Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON - It’s not too late for children and high risk adults to get a flu shot if you call your health care provider right away - or call the Health Department’s flu information line at 800-695-0022 during regular business hours now through the end of this week on Friday, February 4.

There are still supplies of flu vaccine available for children, and about 1,000 doses remaining for high-risk adults.

Any child age 6 months to 18 years old is now eligible for flu shots. High risk adults are defined as anyone age 50 and older, anyone age 18 and older with a serious medical condition, pregnant women, anyone who lives with or cares for someone at high risk from flu, and health care workers.

“Although it’s late in the season, it’s not too late to get protection against the flu if you call for an appointment now,” said Cort Lohff, MD, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “This year’s flu vaccine has proven to be a good match with the Type A pN2 strain that is circulating.”

Flu is widespread in Vermont, with cases being reported by physicians, schools, nursing homes and hospital laboratories around the state. Due to the cooperation of the state’s health care leadership, home health agencies, hospitals and health care providers, most Vermonters at highest risk of complications or death from flu have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, either by their health care provider or at public clinics.

“Most of us who get the flu will recover after a week or two but, sadly, every year an estimated 70 or more Vermonters die as a result of influenza. That’s why it’s so important for people most at risk from the flu to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Lohff.

Is it a Cold or is it the Flu?

Flu can often be confused with the common cold, but the symptoms of flu are generally worse, and include body aches, extreme tiredness, headache, dry cough and fever.

Symptoms of the common cold are less severe, and include congestion, sneezing, runny nose and sore throat.

Most cases of flu can be treated at home with bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids. “But watch for emergency warning signs and get immediate medical attention if you see them,” said Dr. Lohff.

Emergency Warning Signs for Children:

Get immediate medical attention.

Emergency Warning Signs for Adults:

Get immediate medical attention.

For more information about preventing, recognizing and treating the flu at www.healthyvermonters.info