Additional Flu Vaccine Available

Additional Flu Vaccine Available

As of Jan. 3 the Fairfax County Health Department has additional flu vaccines available for adults and children who are considered high-risk as determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to a recent survey by the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, only 31.6 percent of adults in the high-risk priority groups received a flu shot in the state — three percent lower than the national percentage.

After Jan. 10, people over the age of 50 and household contacts of individuals in the high-risk categories will be eligible to receive available flu vaccine, although it is expected there will be a limited supply of vaccine for this group.

Individuals that fit the expanded criteria can call 703-246-2411 on Jan. 10 for vaccine availability.

For high-risk patients, flu shots will be offered by appointment only and cost $17. Eligible adults can make an appointment by calling one of five Health Department District Offices:

* Falls Church District Office: 703-534-8343

* Herndon/Reston District Office: 703-481-4242

* Joseph Willard Health Center (Fairfax City): 703-246-7100

* Mount Vernon District Office: 703-704-6100

* Springfield District Office: 703-569-1031

The CDC guidelines for flu vaccine distribution are intended to protect vulnerable individuals who are most likely to become seriously ill or die from the flu. These guidelines are:

* People 65 years of age or older.

* Children six- to 23-months.

* People 2-64 years of age with underlying chronic medical conditions.

* Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.

* Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

* Children six-months to 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy.

* Health care workers who provide direct patient care.

* Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under six months of age.

The Health Department still has vaccine for high-risk children eligible for the Vaccine for Children program. Individuals who believe their child is eligible for this program may call a Health Department District Office and ask to speak to the Nurse of the Day.

In order to reduce the spread of flu, people are encouraged to:

* Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; dispose of the tissue immediately and wash hands thoroughly.

* Frequently wash hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.

* Rinse and dry hands with a disposable towel. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

* Stay at home from work or school for 5-7 days if you have flu like symptoms.

* Refrain from visiting a nursing home if you have flu like symptoms.

If flu symptoms develop (the sudden onset of fever, headache, sore throat, and cough), a doctor can prescribe medications that can reduce the severity and duration of the disease.

For more information, refer to the Health Department Web site at or call its recorded information line at 703-246-2411, TTY 703-591-6435.