Garfield County gets set for upcoming flu season |

Garfield County gets set for upcoming flu season

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

As the 2009-2010 flu season approaches, health care officials are bracing for a higher number of cases in the normal or “seasonal” flu virus, as well as an unknown resurgence of concerns sparked initially by last spring’s swine flu pandemic.

“Flu season is getting a lot of attention this year,” declared Garfield County’s immunization nurse, Sara Harter, in a written statement issued on Monday. “The emergence of the new H1N1 [also known as swine flu] virus has made fighting the bug a bit more complicated and perhaps more confusing for many of us.”

Harter noted that the county’s annual flu vaccination program offers shots calculated by national and international health officials to protect against “the three influenza strains that have been determined to be the biggest threat to global health, based upon research and surveillance conducted year-round.”

The county’s health department will begin offering the vaccinations in September, Harter reported, and she pledged that “the vaccine will protect you for the entire flu season.” She said vaccination is recommended for those over the age of 50 and between the ages of six months and 18 years, pregnant women, caregivers living with individuals at high risk for complications from the flu and anyone with such chronic health issues as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

The new H1N1 virus now being developed, she reported, is scheduled for immunization clinics in late October or early November, and is being touted as “very important for everyone aged 6 months through 24 years of age. The elderly have not shown to be at high risk for this virus.”

County public health flu clinics are scheduled for Sept. 15, and again on Sept. 21 at area senior lunch sites, and other clinics will begin on Sept. 23. Full schedules of clinic times and locations will be publicized as they grow nearer.

Flu shots are $20 for adults, $10 for children aged 6 months through 18 years, and payment is accepted in cash or checks only. Medicare Part B and Medicaid payments will be allowed for children.

For questions or to make an appointment, please call Garfield County Public Health at the Glenwood Springs office, (970) 945-6614, or the Rifle office, (970) 625-5200.

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