Dinniman Encourages Flu Shots

Dinniman Encourages Flu Shots

WEST CHESTER, PA — As this year’s flu season will coincide with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, state Senator Andy Dinniman encouraged residents not to delay in getting a flu vaccine.

“Every year I encourage Chester Countians to get a flu shot, but this year may be more important than ever,” Dinniman said. “While we do not yet have a vaccine for the coronavirus, we do have a flu vaccine that works. Given the potential for serious complications and the risks associated with both viruses circulating this fall and winter, I strongly urge residents, seniors, and young people to get their flu shots.”

According to the Chester County Health Department, the flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms (cough, chills, fever, body aches). This means getting a flu vaccine this year is especially important to protect you and your family. Also, immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people aged 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine every year by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even into January or later. After receiving a vaccination, it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.

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While flu seasons vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. According to the CDC, it’s estimated that in recent years between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.

As a senior citizen, Dinniman received the enhanced/high-dose flu shot this week. That vaccine is specifically designed for people 65 years and older due to their high risk of developing serious complications from flu. It is associated with a stronger immune response following vaccination.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of getting a flu vaccine as we continue to battle the coronavirus,” Dinniman said. “Potentially, it could keep you from wondering whether you have the flu or COVID and keep you from having to isolate or quarantine if you’re not sure. Most importantly, getting a flu shot will help prevent our healthcare system from being burdened by both the flu and COVID. Please do your part and consider getting a flu shot.”

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Residents can obtain flu vaccines through their general practitioner, at many local pharmacies, or by making an appointment at the Chester County Health Department. In addition, the health department will be holding vaccination clinics throughout the county.

Those locations and dates are as follows:

Kennett High School October 8 2:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Gordon Early Literacy Center October 15 3 PM – 6 PM
Owen J Roberts Middle School October 19 3 PM – 6:30 PM
Collegium Charter School October 22 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
West Chester East High School October 24 9 AM – 1 PM
Great Valley Middle School October 29 3 PM – 6 PM
Octorara High School November 9 2:30 PM – 6 PM
Coatesville Area Senior High November 12 2:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Phoenixville Area Middle School November 16 4 PM – 7 PM
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If you plan to attend a clinic, please be sure to register ahead of time.

If you have insurance, health department officials ask that you please bring your insurance card with you to the clinic as participating private insurance plans can be billed. If you do not have insurance, you will still receive a flu vaccine and will not pay any out-of-pocket costs.

More information is available at  https://www.chesco.org/843/Influenza-Flu.

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