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Grady County Health Department urges at-risk adults to get flu vaccine now

Seniors 65 and older, pregnant women and adults with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer are among those most at risk of severe complications from flu – and should get vaccinated now, says Grady County Health Department Nurse Manager Peggy Connell.
“Seasonal flu activity is beginning in our Southwest Health District,” Connell said. “The sooner at-risk patients get vaccinated, the sooner they will be protected against flu, which for them, could have complications leading to pneumonia, hospitalization and even death.”
The health department has an ample supply of flu vaccine on hand for adults, and will be receiving additional shipments soon, she said. Some shipments for child flu vaccines have been delayed, so parents should check prior to bringing in children to get flu vaccinations.
“High-dose flu shots for older adults cost $35, while regular flu vaccine costs $25 per dose,” Connell said. The health department accepts cash, checks, Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and Coventry United Health Care (State Health Benefit Plan).
High-dose influenza vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
“Human immune defenses become weaker with age, placing older adults at greater risk of severe illness from influenza,” Connell explained. “Also, aging decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine aims at giving older adults a better immune response, with the result being better protection against flu.”
The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for those six months and older as the first and best way to protect against seasonal influenza.
For more information about getting flu vaccine, call the health department at 229-377-2992.

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