September 19, 2008
The winter influenza (flu) season will soon be here and Catholic Health, in conjunction with the Diocese of Buffalo, is once again offering flu vaccines at area parishes throughout Western New York. Participants need not be members of the parish to receive a flu vaccine, however reservations are required. The cost of the vaccine is $30 and is covered by most major insurance plans.
Flu shots are recommended for all people, including school-aged children, who want to lower their chances of becoming sick with the flu or spreading the illness. The Catholic Health Flu Vaccine program is available to individuals 18 years of age and older. “This is a simple and convenient way to protect yourself against the flu,” said Sandy Spencer, Director of Patient/Community Education for Catholic Health. “This is especially important for those individuals who are at risk of developing complications from the flu.”
The flu season generally runs from October to April. Those most at risk include: adults over 65 years of age; anyone with long-term health conditions; anyone with a weakened immune system; women who will become pregnant during influenza season; anyone on long-term aspirin treatment; and family members and out-of-home caregivers of infants less than 6 months of age.
Because influenza viruses can change often, flu vaccines are updated each year to be as effective as possible. “People who are at risk should get a flu shot each year for maximum protection,” Spencer explains. “With the number of parishes we have participating this year, there is a convenient location within minutes for most residents in Erie County.”
The flu vaccines are administered by appointment by registered nurses. For a list of flu shot locations or to make an appointment, call Catholic Health’s HealthConnection at (716) 706-2112.