The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), in conjunction with the Ocean State Adult Immunization Coalition (OSAIC) announces that public flu clinics for anyone age 19 or older have started. This is the second year that HEALTH’s Immunize For Life adult immunization program is providing adult flu vaccine to healthcare providers and mass immunizers.
“Getting an annual flu shot is the easiest and most effective way to protect yourself from getting the flu,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “Since the Immunize For Life program started, we rank number one in the country for influenza vaccination coverage rates among adults age 65 and older. By continuing this trend of increased vaccination rates in adults, we hope to see a decrease in illnesses and deaths caused by influenza.”
Every year, some 36,000 people in the United States die from influenza and its complications. Influenza is an infection in the lungs. Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, body aches and a general feeling of being tired. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that anyone who wants to avoid getting influenza shot get a flu shot. Some adults are at increased risk of developing complications from influenza and should get a flu shot every year. People who are considered to be at high risk include: --Anyone age 50 or older. --Anyone who is a resident of a long-term care facility. --Anyone who has a chronic, long-term health condition such as heart or lung disease, asthma or diabetes. --Anyone who has a weakened immune system. --Any woman who is pregnant. --Any healthcare worker who provides direct patient care. --Anyone who lives with or cares for anyone who is considered high risk.
HEALTH also provides flu vaccine to pediatricians and family practitioners for any Rhode Islander younger than 19.
To get a flu shot, call your healthcare provider or go to a public clinic. For a listing of public flu clinics in Rhode Island, visit Ocean State Adult Immunization Coalition site at: http://www.osaicri.org/FluClinicSchedule.pdf or call 1-800-555-7858.