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Suffolk County to Observe National Influenza Immunization Week!

Health officials remind residents to protect themselves and their families

In observance of National Influenza Week — December 5 through December 11, 2010 — the County Executive Steve Levy and Suffolk County Department of Health Services area urging all who have not yet received their annual flu vaccinations to do so as soon as possible.

Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Health Services said, “Influenza is a serious disease that should be treated as such. While most people will recover from the flu with no complications, some are at greater risk for serious complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death. The good news is that immunization can protect us from the flu.”

Individuals who are particularly vulnerable are mature adults, young children, pregnant women those with diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions, or chronic lung diseases,  such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease),  and those who are severely obese persons.

“Flu viruses are constantly changing,” said the Department of Health Services Chief Deputy Commissioner Dr. Eli Avila, “Each flu season produces different flu viruses.  Influenza can affect people differently.  Some have very mild courses while others can get very sick. Influenza can spread to family members and friends so people infected need to reduce their exposure to healthy people.”

The first and most important step in protecting against influenza is to get a flu vaccine each flu season.  This year for the first time the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children six months of age and older should be immunized against influenza. This year’s flu vaccine is being made using the same methods as past flu vaccines.  It will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season, as well as other seasonal influenza viruses.

The flu vaccine is changed yearly based on the viruses identified, how they spread and the effectiveness of the current vaccine in protecting against new viruses. It takes two weeks after the vaccination for a person’s body to build immunity for protection against influenza.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, the health department, pharmacies, college health centers, as well as many employers.

Contact your health care provider today for your flu vaccine.  Getting a flu vaccine could save your life or the life of someone you love.  For information about Suffolk County Department of Health Services adult flu clinics, please call 631-787-2200. For information about children’s immunizations, please call 631-853-8496.

SCDHS ADULT INFLUENZA/PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION CLINIC CALENDAR

Date Town   Time Program/Location/Address Phone #

12/1 Riverhead 5PM-7PM Riverhead Library, 330 Court Street 727-3228

12/6 Hauppauge 5PM-7PM Commack Library,18 Hauppauge Road 499-0888

12/9 Lindenhurst 5PM-7PM Lindenhurst Library, 1 Lee Avenue 957-7755

12/18 Holbrook 10AM-12PM Sachem Library, 150 Holbrook Road 588-5024

No fee will be collected from those participants with Medicare Part B non-managed care (no Medicare Advantage plans) for the influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations as Medicare will be billed for the service.  A list of insurances accepted by SCDHS can be accessed on the SCDHS website www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.  All others will be charged $37 for the influenza vaccination and $25 for the pneumococcal vaccination, payable by check or money order, no cash accepted. The charge for the new high-dose influenza vaccine will be $55 and the above entities may be billed as well for this service.

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