National Child Health Day reminds us about importance of flu shots

Child Health Day flu shotNational Child Health Day is today, Oct. 2. This day serves as a reminder to continue working to improve the health and well-being of our community’s children. Keeping up with your child’s vaccination schedule is important to protect them from preventable illnesses. As we head into flu season, this is a great time to make sure the whole family gets the flu shot.

Children, especially those younger than five years old, are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications. The flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting the flu and spreading it to others. Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends everyone six months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Keep in mind vaccination is especially important for certain people who are high risk or who are in close contact with high-risk persons. This includes children at high risk for developing complications from influenza illness and adults who are in close contacts of those children.

Children need a flu shot every year for the best protection against flu. It is a good practice to get them vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later still protects against circulating flu viruses. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as September, most of the time influenza activity peaks between December and February. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is best that people get vaccinated early, before influenza begins spreading in their community.

Flu vaccines are available at the Oakland County Health Division beginning Tuesday, Oct. 3. The flu vaccine protects against as many as four flu viruses, which are most likely to occur this season. Flu shots are available for $25 at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield. Individuals 65 years and older qualify for a high-dose flu shot, which costs $47. Clinic hours are from noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics.

Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:

  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

The Health Division will also hold two community clinics on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Road, Troy
  • Tuesday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills

flu flyer 2017

Payment options include cash, credit (American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa), Medicare, Medicaid and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic. Oakland County Health Division participates in the Vaccines for Children Program. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay; there is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.

For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow the Health Division on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at (800) 434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at (800) 848-5533.

Hanna Cassise is a public health educator for the Oakland County Health Division. Many of the materials in this blog were sourced from the Centers for Disease Control.

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