Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Atlantic County's annual flu vaccine program will include the addition of 10 new community sites, announced County Executive Dennis Levinson, following the distribution of the 2002 flu vaccine schedule by the county's Division of Public Health. "These new locations provide improved accessibility for the elderly, ample parking and are better suited for large crowds," he said.
The campaign begins this month and continues through December in an effort to help protect senior citizens and other at-risk individuals against flu and pneumococcal infections that most typically occur from late December through March. The influenza (flu) virus is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, chest discomfort and cough, muscle aches and pains. Complications may include bronchitis and pneumonia. Approximately 20,000 deaths and 110,000 hospitalizations are attributed to the flu each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
Tracye McArdle, Atlantic County Public Health Officer, noted that those most likely to suffer from flu-related complications are individuals over 65 years of age, nursing home or long-term facility residents, and individuals with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Women who will be in their second or third trimester of pregnancy between December and March should also consider vaccination this Fall.
In addition to the flu shot, a vaccine for pneumoccocal disease will also be offered at these sites for those individuals over 65 years of age who have never received this shot in the past . A "pneu" shot can be given at the same time as a flu shot, usually one in each arm.
For dates and locations of sites offering these vaccinations, visit the county Web site at: www.aclink.org and follow the link for the flu shot schedule or call the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at (609) 645-5933.