Time to Get Your Flu Shot: URMC Public Flu Clinics Offered Now Through October
September 25, 2012
"Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is the best way to protect yourself and the ones you care about from getting sick"
As we bid a fond farewell to summer and embrace the cooler temperatures, vibrant colors, and pumpkin-flavored-everything that autumn brings, it’s also time to prepare for one of fall’s most unwelcome visitors—the flu.
Although it’s difficult to predict when the flu will officially come knocking—how bad it will be, and how long it will stay—experts strongly recommend a flu vaccine as the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your co-workers from illness this year.
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Flu Prevention Program has public clinics scheduled now through October at locations throughout the Rochester area to provide vaccinations to children and adults, ages five and up. Program staff can also provide on-site clinics to businesses and organizations upon request. Staffed by nurses from the University of Rochester School of Nursing, the program is an integral part of the School’s community wellness efforts.
For a complete list of all of the URMC public clinic sites, visit rochesterflu.org or call 275-4816.
Program adminstrators say this year’s vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness this year, and anticipate the supplies of flu vaccine will be adequate to meet the needs of the entire season. However, they advise early vaccination as the best protection, since flu activity can begin as early as October.
“Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is the best way to protect yourself and the ones you care about from getting sick,” said Daniel Nowak, R.N., M.S., director of the URMC Flu Program, which is staffed by nurses from the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and has been providing flu clinics to the community for more than 13 years. “As always, our goal is to provide expert, professional service from nurses who are experienced in giving flu shots, so that it’s easy for people to get vaccinated, keep their families well, and keep our community healthy.”
The URMC program accepts and bills most major forms of health insurance directly to cover vaccination cost at the time of service. However, some high deductible plans may bill patients separately for a co-pay or a portion of this cost. The seasonal flu shot costs $30. For medically qualified people, the nasal-spray flu vaccine is also available for a fee of $40. Photo identification and a current health insurance card are required for proof of insurance. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Special Clinics for URMC/UR Faculty, Staff
Please note that Strong Memorial Hospital staff, students and volunteers are required to participate in Strong Memorial’s annual flu program, either by receiving vaccine or completing declination paperwork; more information is linked here.
Not part of URMC’s clinical enterprise? Non-hospital University employees (e.g., those in Marketing, PR, Parking, Planning, research labs, River Campus locations, etc.) and their spouses/domestic partners still can receive free vaccines thanks to the University’s Well-U immunization program. Detailed information and clinic times can be found here.
The flu, or influenza, is a respiratory illness that is easily spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, muscle ache, chills and headache. Peak influenza activity usually occurs from late December through March, but can start as early as October and extend through May. Each year, approximately 36,000 people die from flu or its complications and more than 200,000 hospitalizations occur. A new flu shot is developed each year based upon the strains of flu expected to be circulating. In addition to getting a flu shot, health officials stress other preventive measures such as thorough and frequent hand washing and staying home if ill with respiratory symptoms, to prevent exposing others.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only a fraction of Americans who should get a flu vaccine are actually being immunized. The CDC now recommends that all people six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and complications, including pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes.