Vermont’s Flu Season has Officially Started, Flu Shots Still Available for High Risk Vermonters

DATE: December 7 , 2004

CONTACT: Communication Office
863-7281

BURLINGTON, VT — The Vermont Department of Health today confirmed two cases of Type A influenza in adults in Chittenden and Franklin counties. These first two cases indicate that the flu season has begun in Vermont.

Typically the flu season begins each year in December or January, and may continue through the following April. Last year, the first flu cases were confirmed during the last week of November.

“It’s not too late for Vermonters at risk of serious complications from the flu to get vaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD. “We have been working hard to get the very limited supply of flu vaccine out to Vermonters who need it most — the very young, the very old, people of any age with serious medical conditions, and health care workers who provide direct care to patients in these high risk groups.”

The Health Department also announced that vaccine is available in doctor’s offices for a new group: healthy children age 6 to 23 months old.

“Most children who have very serious medical conditions have been vaccinated by now,” said Dr. Jarris. “Vaccine is now available for the youngest healthy children—so if your child hasn’t yet had a flu shot, call your pediatrician or family doctor now to schedule one.”

The state’s Visiting Nurse Associations and home health agencies continue to hold clinics through next week for high-risk adults: anyone age 75 or older, any adult with one or more medical condition that requires regular or frequent care, and pregnant women. Check your local home health agency or the Health Department’s website: www.healthyvermonters.info for the current schedule.

The Health Department still expects about 16,000 more doses to come into the state in December and early January. These will be used by physicians and other primary care providers for more high risk adults.

Influenza is caused by a virus that is spread from person to person, and is highly contagious. Illness often includes fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches that last for a week or longer. Children can also experience fever and vomiting. Influenza can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, especially in the elderly or people with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze - how to keep germs from spreading:

With or without the flu shot, there are actions everyone can take to stay healthy and keep illness from spreading:

If you’re sick, don’t spread your germs to others:

For questions about flu or the flu vaccine, visit the Health Department’s website (www.healthyvermonters.info).