Health
3:30 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Free Flu Clinics Open for National Influenza Vaccination Week

It’s flu season again — have you been vaccinated yet?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering free flu clinics throughout the commonwealth during National Influenza Vaccination Week,

Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said the holiday season is the perfect time to remind people of the importance of getting vaccinated.

“So far this year the influenza activity has been sporadic,” Wolf said. ”However, it usually picks up after Thanksgiving and there are indications that this is occurring.  Pennsylvania had an extremely active flu season last year with more than 40,000 influenza cases reported to the department.”

According to the Department of Health, the flu hospitalized more than 3,500 people and killed more than 200 people last year.

An average of five to 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza each year.

“We are hoping that the clinics being held during National Influenza vaccination week offer families another way to protect themselves, their children and their loved ones.”

The department said flu season usually runs from October through May and peaks between January and March.

“The flu shot is one of the single most effective ways of keeping people healthy, preventing illness, instead of causing it,” Wolf said. “We think that it’s a very important thing for people to do, it is something that helps protect young kids and older people who are two vulnerable populations to the flu.”

Pregnant women, anyone with chronic medical conditions and healthcare workers are also exceptionally vulnerable to the flu.

Wolf suggested people who are looking for locations for the clinics near them call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 8 through 14.