Thursday, October 16, 2003

N.Ky. residents urged to sign up for flu shots



By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Even though no shortage of the flu vaccine is expected this year, health officials are advising people to get vaccinated soon to build up an immunity to fight off the virus.

WHERE TO GET SHOTS
To make an appointment, call a Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department center
Boone County Health Center, 7505 Burlington Pike, Florence: (859) 363-2060
Campbell County Health Center, 12 E. Fifth St., Newport: (859) 431-1704
Grant County Health Center, 234 Barnes Road, Williamstown: (859) 824-5074
Kenton County Health Center, 634 Scott Blvd., Covington: (859) 431-3345
or Call a HealthPoint Family Care health center for an appointment
Bellevue Health Center, 103 Landmark Drive: (859) 655-7720
Covington Health Center, 1132 Greenup St.: (859) 491-7616
Dixie Pike Health Center, 1100 Pike St., Covington: (859) 655-8900
Bracken County Health Center, 1551 Augusta Chatham Road, Augusta: (606) 756-3444
For a complete listing of all flu shot locations in Greater Cincinnati, visit Web site.
"The Centers for Disease Control suggests giving the flu shot about now because it takes about two weeks to build up immunity," said Dr. Toby Acheson, medical director of HealthPoint Family Care serving Northern Kentucky. "The CDC recommends starting in mid-October or the beginning of November."

While most influenza usually shows up in January or February, CDC officials have seen some flu cases already. Health officials are urging everyone, regardless of whether they're in a high-risk group, to be vaccinated this year. Flu shots are being given at grocery stores, pharmacies and doctors' offices for the influenza season that runs through March.

Although HealthPoint - which serves 25,000 patients at four Northern Kentucky family health centers and a homeless clinic in Covington - and the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department have yet to receive the vaccine, both agencies expect to get it soon. Call health centers to make appointments for flu shots.

The cost is $10 at HealthPoint and $15 at the Northern Kentucky health department centers. Medicare coverage should be available after Nov. 1. Most insurance companies cover the cost of a flu shot.

Evie Van Herpe, epidemiology administrator for the Northern Kentucky health department, said the vaccine will protect against influenza and more serious complications such as pneumonia. The health department offers a pneumonia shot to people 65 or older for $25.

Flu shots can't cause the flu, even though some people may have a reaction that includes soreness at the site where the shot is given and an achy feeling, said nurse Jennifer Hunter, quality assurance manager for the Northern Kentucky health department.

"For most people, it's better to get the flu vaccine than to not get it,'' Hunter said.

E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com




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