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Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin prepared for flu clinics

Thursday, September 23, 2004

MILWAUKEE, Almost a quarter of a million Americans will be hospitalized by flu this season, according to a new estimate by Centers for Disease Control researchers. The 226,000 figure, almost twice the original estimate, is based on new data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin officials say they are prepared for the coming flu season, and suggest others get ready, too.

``It’s a good idea for people to get their flu shot early this year,`` said Lisa Taylor, RN, the VNA’s flu coordinator. ``The shot can protect them from influenza and help to avoid a situation similar to last year when health providers across the country did not have sufficient vaccine to meet last-minute demand,`` she said.

The VNA has scheduled its Shoo The Flu & Pneumonia Too! vaccination clinics from mid-October through December. Hundreds of clinics will be held in community locations throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Clinics have been scheduled for weekday, evening and weekend hours, and no appointment is necessary.

Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover the cost of both vaccinations. For people not on Medicare or Medicaid, the charge is $18 for a flu shot and $30 for a pneumonia shot.

For more information about Shoo The Flu clinics, please click here or call the hotline at 414-328-4450 or 800-548-7580.

The VNA expects to receive its full supply of flu vaccine, which is arriving in gradual shipments. The initial shipments have been received, with more arriving as the clinics proceed.

This year, the VNA will provide flu vaccinations to anyone who is 9 years or older. Parents should note that children ages 9 through 17 must be accompanied by a parent.

``“Because children younger than 9 may require two flu shots, we recommend that parents of children 8 or younger make appointments with a pediatrician for the flu immunization,`` Taylor said.

An annual flu shot is recommended for:

  • Everyone 50 years of age or older
  • Anyone who has a long-term health problem
  • Household contacts and caretakers of infants and children under the age of 2
  • Pregnant women
  • Health care workers, family members, or anyone else coming in close contact with people at risk of serious influenza
  • Anyone 9 or older who wants to reduce their chance of catching the flu

An annual flu shot should be considered for:

  • People who provide essential community services
  • People traveling in organized tourist groups
  • People living in dormitories or other crowded conditions

Since flu strains change from year to year, it is necessary to be vaccinated annually. All the viruses in the vaccine have been killed, so people cannot get the flu from a flu shot.

Pneumonia vaccinations are also available at the clinics. They are recommended for people who are over 65 years old and for people under 65 with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, or heart or lung disease.

The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit agency that has been committed to keeping people independent in their homes since 1907. The VNA is the most comprehensive source of home-care services in eastern Wisconsin.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Sue Pierman (414-647-6432)

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