HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Health and public and private partners will be offering free flu clinics throughout Pennsylvania during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 8-14, a week dedicated to advising people that it isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine.
“As families prepare to get together for the holidays, it’s a perfect time to remind people of the importance of getting vaccinated,” Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said. “We hope these clinics offer another convenient way for families to protect themselves and help Pennsylvanians stay healthy into the New Year.”
So far this year, influenza activity has been sporadic; however, it usually picks up after Thanksgiving and there are indications this is occurring. Now is an excellent time to get the vaccine for those who have not yet received it.
Pennsylvania had an extremely active flu season last year with more than 40,000 influenza cases reported to the Department of Health resulting in more than 3,500 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths.
“Prevention is the key to keeping older Pennsylvanians healthy,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said. ”Through our PrimeTime Health program, many Area Agencies on Aging are able to offer flu shots for older adults in their areas. This partnership helps our older Pennsylvanians to get immunized and stay healthy during the flu season.”
Other groups at high risk for developing the flu include young children, pregnant women, anyone with chronic medical conditions and healthcare workers.
Flu season typically runs from October through May, and often peaks between January and March with an average of five to 20 percent of the U.S. population developing influenza each year.
Individuals seeking vaccination from the Department of Health are encouraged to call 877-PA-HEALTH to find a local flu clinic. Older Pennsylvanians are encouraged to contact their Area Agency on Aging, listed in the government section of local telephone directories or by visiting www.aging.state.pa.us.
For more information on seasonal influenza, contact your local health care provider or visit www.health.state.pa.us.