Health Dept. to offer flu vaccine

This year, there will be some changes to how the Auglaize County Health Department personnel administers the flu vaccine — and those changes will affect people throughout the county.

No longer will they be taking it out into the individual communities in the county, Auglaize County Nursing Supervisor Cindy Jones said.

“We have done that in the past,” Jones said. “With so many other places now offering the vaccine, the need for us to be in the community isn’t there.”

She said Health Department nurses could be better used elsewhere.

“We design our services in the direction of need and that is constantly changing,” Jones said.

Health Board members approved the 2012-13 influenza vaccine policy, which is updated annually.

A mass flu vaccine clinic is being planned for walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12. at the Auglaize County Health Department, located at 214 S. Wagner St., Wapakoneta.

The cost is $10 for children ages 6 months to 18 years and $25 for adults.

The flu vaccine is to be available in regular clinics starting Oct. 16 with walk-in clinics every Tuesday from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Health Department and from 1 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday at the Auglaize County Council on Aging in St. Marys.

Appointments for the vaccine are to be offered from 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Health Department.

Both Fluzone, which can be used to immunize both adults and children, and FluMist, an intranasal vaccine used by children, but also preferred by some adults, are to be offered.

Forms of payment accepted include Medicare Part B, Medicaid, cash and check. No credit, debit or Health Savings Cards can be used. Those planning to receive the vaccine are asked to bring all their insurance cards with them.

Jones said drive-thru clinics offered in the past also have not been as successful as hoped but for those who are wheelchair bound or in need, they will provide the vaccine in the parking lots of their existing clinics upon request.

With two Auglaize County residents already hospitalized this year with type B influenza, Jones stressed the importance of getting immunized.

“It’s very early in the season,” Jones said. “Usually, we peak in March. We have seen the flu as early as November, but never this early.”

She said because of the timing and severity of cases throughout the state and country already, the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are closely monitoring the situation.

“Other places are experiencing similar cases,” Jones said. “They are examining it to make sure it’s nothing novel, that’s not included in the vaccine.”

She said one of the Auglaize County residents with the flu was quite ill and spent some time in intensive care. Neither one had any underlying health problems.

“We only track hospitalized cases, so there may have been others,” Jones said.

She said this year’s vaccine is to include protection against two type A flus, including H1N1, and one type B. The plan is for the vaccine to also include protection from two part Bs next year.