September 20, 2019
For More Information Contact
- Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager, 276-759-8297
(MARION, Va.) — The Mount Rogers Health District offers a series of free vaccination clinics this fall for all residents of Bland and Wythe counties. Available vaccines include seasonal flu, pneumonia, shingles, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
All clinics will be at the Wytheville Training School Cultural Center, 410 East Franklin St. in Wytheville:
- Thursday, October 17, 1 to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday October 30, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Thursday, November 7, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are recommended. Some vaccines may have limited supply. To schedule an appointment, call 276-613-7617 or visit www.gotvaccines.com.
“Virginia is experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A, with the highest number of cases in the Mount Rogers Health District,” said Karen Shelton, M.D., director, Mount Rogers Health District. “Hepatitis A is easier to transmit than hepatitis B and C, which are blood-borne. Hepatitis A is spread in much the same way as gastrointestinal viruses – through food and drink or by close personal contact with someone who is infected with the virus. I highly recommend the vaccine, which gives 95 percent protection after the first dose and lifetime immunity after the six-month booster. ”
Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications,” said Dr. Shelton. “When more people get vaccinated, there is less virus present to potentially infect those who cannot be immunized, such as infants under 6 months old. This helps protect everyone from this potentially deadly disease. You should get the vaccine as soon as it’s available. It takes up to two weeks to develop the vaccine’s full protection, and the coverage can last for up to a year.”
All persons aged 6 months or older should be vaccinated against influenza each year, with special emphasis for people at higher risk for influenza complications, including:
- Pregnant and postpartum women, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- Persons over 65 years of age, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
- People who have chronic lung or heart problems, including asthma; and
- People who have other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, anemia, cancer, weak immune systems (including those with HIV) or a seizure disorder.
To help prevent the spread of influenza to people in high risk groups, those who live with people in a high risk group and healthcare workers should also receive an annual influenza vaccine. Travelers to countries outside of the U.S. also may need to consider getting the influenza vaccination, even at different times of the year.
Each year in the U.S. approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness, and flu-related deaths range from 12,000 to 56,000, averaging 34,000 per year over the last three decades.
To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:
- Get vaccinated;
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds;
- Cover your cough, either by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand; and
- Stay at home when you are sick.
For more information, call the Mount Rogers Health District at 276-781-7450 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/mount-rogers.