Flu vaccines now available through Valley health departments

Influenza vaccine is now available at local health departments in the Central Shenandoah District. You may now call for an appointment or stop by your health department to get vaccinated. The vaccine is available in both the nasal mist and injectable forms, and is recommended for everyone age six months or older. This year’s seasonal flu vaccine provides protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus in addition to an influenza A and influenza B strain.

The cost of the flu vaccine this year is $30. The health departments accept insurances, Medicaid, Medicare, cash, check, or credit cards.

Flu vaccine is effective. “Take time to get a flu shot,” said Douglas Larsen, M.D., director of the Central Shenandoah Health District. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.”

Flu vaccine is safe. “A flu shot does not cause flu illness. The viruses in a flu shot are killed. They’re dead, so they cannot cause a flu infection,” said Dr. Larsen. “The nasal mist vaccine contains a live, but weakened, virus. Both vaccines stimulate the immune system to protect you against the flu, but do not cause flu illness.”

Take other precautions during flu season in Western Virginia, which usually peaks in January and February. In addition to getting vaccinated, there are other easy steps to limit the spread of flu. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away. Wash your hands often with soap and water if available, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid close contact with sick people, and stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free – without fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. And take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them, to lessen symptoms and speed your recovery.

For more information on flu clinics and vaccine availability, please contact your local health department.

  • Augusta/Staunton Health Dept., 1414 N. Augusta St., Staunton, 540.332.7830
  • Bath Co. Health Dept., 51 Courthouse Hill Road, Warm Springs, 540.839.7246
  • Buena Vista Health Dept., 2270 Magnolia Ave., Buena Vista, 540.261.2149
  • Harrisonburg/Rockingham Health Dept., 110 N. Mason St., Harrisonburg, 540.574.5100
  • Highland Co. Health Dept., 140 Fleisher Ave., Monterey, 540.468.2270
  • Lexington/Rockbridge Health Dept., 300 White St., Lexington, 540.463.3185
  • Waynesboro Health Dept., 211 W. 12th St., Waynesboro, 540.949.0137

Schedules may differ, so please contact your local office to insure that vaccine is available.

Dr. Larsen emphasizes that “flu is a serious, contagious and unpredictable disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. So the best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated!”

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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