PA Health Officials Urge Residents to Get Flu Shots Before Holiday Season

HARRISBURG, Pa. – This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will continue its “Stopping the Flu Starts with YOU” campaign by hosting influenza vaccine clinics across the state and encouraging Pennsylvanians to get their flu vaccines before the holiday season.

“During the holidays, the flu can easily be spread to family, friends, and fellow travelers,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “Many of us look forward to celebrating the holidays with loved ones, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others around you from getting sick. Since it takes at least two weeks to build full immunity and get protection from the vaccine, it’s wise to get your vaccination now to avoid getting sick later.”

Flu vaccines are available at the clinics that the department is holding statewide from November 16 through November 20. The clinics will provide flu vaccines at reduced or no cost for uninsured/underinsured adults, as well as children through 18 years of age who are uninsured, underinsured, Medicaid eligible, or American Indian or Alaska Native. The cost is $5 per person (payable by check or money order) for individuals and families within the above guidelines; however, no one will be turned away because of an inability to pay.

Adults and children who meet the requirements for the vaccine clinics must call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to schedule an appointment. A parent/legal guardian must accompany children who are receiving the flu vaccination. Department of Health staff will need to be notified prior to the appointment if someone other than the child’s parent/legal guardian will be accompanying him/her.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease and life-threatening complications. While the flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for developing flu-related complications. These people include young children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, anyone with chronic medical conditions, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and travelers and people living abroad. It is especially important that these individuals, as well as their caregivers and medical providers, get annual flu vaccines.

“Getting a vaccine is the first and best way to protect against the flu,” continued Dr. Murphy. “My department is urging Pennsylvanians – especially at-risk individuals – to take this safe, protective step against a preventable illness this holiday season.”

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