The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders started its seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccine clinics for adult county residents and will continue with a total of 19 clinics countywide through Dec. 30.
“It is important to get a flu shot every year because influenza viruses continually change and vaccine success depends, in part, on the match between the types of virus in the vaccine and the virus occurring among members of the public,” said Freeholder Director Joe Donnelly.
Residents with computer access should schedule their flu shot by visiting the health department website, www.co.burlington.nj.us/health. People can currently schedule their appointments online. Residents who have scheduled their appointment online and bring the printed and completed consent form will be fast-tracked through the clinic. Walk-ins will still be welcomed but may have to wait in line.
In addition to targeting the usual higher risk groups, such as those aged 50 and older, people with chronic medical conditions, weakened immune or respiratory systems and pregnant women, all youths through age 23 are advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to receive seasonal flu vaccines this year to reduce the spread of flu in schools.
The county clinic is for adults age 18 and older but parents can take their children to physicians for flu vaccines and many other county locales will be giving the seasonal flu vaccine, including Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers (www.sjfmc.org/) in Burlington City and Pemberton.
For people who have not been immunized against pneumonia, a “pneumo” vaccine is recommended for people who have not had one in five years and if the first one was given before age 65.
Influenza is a very contagious illness with pneumonia being one of the most common complications in high-risk groups. To prevent transmission to high-risk groups, a seasonal flu vaccine is also recommended for health-care providers; household contacts (including children) of high-risk people and caregivers of children.
The county health department accepts Medicare Part “B” to cover the cost for seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccines. A donation of $15 for seasonal flu vaccine and $25 for pneumonia is recommended by those not covered by Medicare if residents can afford it.
People who have Medicare coverage and belong to a managed care plan or HMO, should go to their regular health care providers to receive immunizations.