September 14, 2015
To The Editor:
The Morgan County Health Department will be holding its annual mass immunization clinic for flu on October 8th and 9th at the Jacksonville High School Bowl. Times scheduled are: Oct 8th – 1pm to 6pm and on Oct. 9th – 8am to 6pm.
There are many reasons to choose to get your flu shot at the clinic:
- Wait time is minimal, usually less than 15 minutes.
- You will be getting your shot from a crew of registered nurses (RN’s). If handicapped, a member of the team will come to your car and administer the vaccine.
- With the variations in time, the entire family can get shots together. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that anyone over 6 months of age get a shot unless there is a medical contraindication.
- Early in October is usually considered to be the best time for a shot, though it will be effective at most anytime following a two week period while your body builds antibodies.
Although early vaccination is encouraged, the CDC recognizes a reduction in efficacy if the flu vaccine is administered too early in the flu season. “A 2010 study noted a statistically significant decline in antibody titers 6 months after vaccination among persons aged >65 years.” (CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, August 7, 2015). For the elderly who are immunocompromised, check with your provider if there is a contraindication. In some of the very frail elderly, a shot’s effectiveness may wane when one needs it most during the peak epidemic months which are usually in January or February if given too early. Some may consider it an honor to be first to get a shot, but it is less than an honor to be the first with the flu!
For many years our health department gave over 5,000 shots at this clinic but it has waned to a little more than 2,000 in the last few years. This is due to others offering shots at an earlier date. Founded in 1922, the Morgan County Health Department has always been considered to be our strong barrier in disease prevention as they investigate where outbreaks occur and continuously monitor the progress of the disease. All health departments get reports as to where outbreaks have started and where the disease is projected to move.
Like all communicable diseases, the flu has no boundaries. So it is important that everyone gets a shot.
The funds raised through those utilizing the clinic will enable the health department to continue to deliver the many services they offer to those in need.
Come to your newly decorated Jacksonville Bowl and observe what your children and youth will enjoy at future school and community events.
Walter L. Meyer, MD William D. Meyer
Retired Physician Retired Public Health Administrator