Governor, First Lady and Health Department Commissioner Promote Wellness & Annual Flu Shots
For Immediate Release: November 5, 2003
Contacts: Jason Gibbs
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON, VT—Governor Jim Douglas and First Lady Dorothy Douglas joined Vermont seniors at the Champlain Senior Center today for their yearly flu vaccination.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a serious disease that is spread from person to person. An average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations from influenza occur each year in the U.S., mostly among those age 65 or older.
Governor Douglas said that there is plenty of vaccine available this year and anyone who wishes to protect themselves from influenza should consider getting vaccinated.
“Getting a vaccination each year is your best protection against the flu. Vermonters, particularly those at high risk, should take advantage of the many opportunities throughout the state to get vaccinated against the flu,” Governor Douglas said. “This is a case where taking care of yourself helps others as well.”
“Vermonters with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, HIV infection and conditions of the heart, lungs and kidneys are at high risk of complications from the flu and should get a flu shot,” said Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, M.D. “In addition, people 50 years of age and older should make it a priority to get a flu vaccination.”
Influenza vaccination is also a high priority for children and teenagers age 6 months to 18 years who are receiving aspirin therapy, women who will be more than 3 months pregnant between November and March, and healthy children from 6 months to 23 months of age. Household and out-of-home caregivers of young children, seniors and the chronically ill should also consider getting a flu vaccination. Children 2 years old to 18 years old are also encouraged to be vaccinated.
The influenza vaccine is updated each year to include new versions of influenza virus so Vermonters must get vaccinated against the flu every October and November. This year there are two types of vaccination available. The flu shot is made of inactivated (killed) virus and the new nasal spray vaccine is made of live virus. The nasal spray should only be used for healthy people ages 5 – 49.
Influenza is a highly contagious disease and can lead to serious illness like pneumonia. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. After infection, most people are sick for several days.