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Flu shot clinic at health dept. Thursday

Shots available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $25 for adults

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Flu shot clinic at health dept. Thursday

In this Herald file shot from 2007, a resident receives a flu shot at the Bulloch County Health department. The Health department will hold a flu shot clinic on Thursday.

    With the start of flu season just around the corner, the Bulloch County Health Department is encouraging people to get the seasonal flu shot.
    To facilitate this, the BCHD will hold a special flu shot clinic Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their offices in West Statesboro.
    Roger Naylor, public relations coordinator for the Southeast Health District, said just about everyone could benefit from the seasonal flu shot, however certain high-risk groups are more likely to suffer complications associated with the seasonal flu.
    “Pretty much everybody over the age of six months, especially those older populations and those with chronic conditions are encouraged to get it this time of the year because it takes a couple of weeks for you to have fully immunity,” Naylor said. “Go ahead and get it now is what we're encouraging.”
    Because it can take two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the shot, those at highest risk should be vaccinated during the month of October, officials added. Children six months to eight years old receiving the seasonal flu shot for the first time will need a follow-up booster one month after the first flu shot.
    The seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against the novel H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu. The novel H1N1 flu vaccine will be available at a later time.
    Cindi Hart, nurse manager of the BCHD, said the most common side effect of the flu shot is a sore arm, which is typical of many vaccines. Hart said they ask a series of question to ensure no one is getting the shot who might be at risk.
    “We ask are they allergic to anything, have they ever had a problem with the vaccine, have they been sick within the last couple of days and based upon those answers, we can ask follow up questions,” Hart said. “It's really a case-by-case basis.”
    The cost of the seasonal flu vaccine is $25 for adults.     Medicare, Medicaid and United Health Care insurance can be billed. If the individual does not have insurance, the nurse manager will work with the patient to make sure he or she gets vaccinated.
    Children can qualify for free seasonal flu shots through the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program. This federally funded program supplies vaccines free of charge and is made available to children up to 19 years of age who are: Medicaid enrolled, uninsured (child has no health insurance coverage), underinsured (child has health insurance but immunizations are not a covered benefit) and/or American Indian or Alaska Native. Ask a BCHD employee for more details.
    According to Naylor, one additional benefit of the flu shot clinic is that because every nurse will be giving flu vaccines and there will be no regularly scheduled appointments, the staff get to practice their emergency management skills.
    “That's basically all they do that day. It's like an exercise and gives them an opportunity to practice their mass vaccinating,” Naylor said. “They set up the clinic and focus solely on people coming in and getting their seasonal flu shot.”
    Naylor and Hart both said the message from the health department is pretty simple.
“What we want is to give the flu vaccine to everyone this year to decrease the chance they get the flu,” Hart said.
    The BCHD office is located at 1 West Altman Street, near the Boy and Girls Club. For more information about the seasonal flu shots or any other service offered by the health department, call (912) 764-3800.
    Phil Boyum may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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