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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • County Health Department prepares for rite of fall -- flu shots

  • Fall is just three weeks away and with fall comes that annual nuisance, flu season.
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  • Fall is just three weeks away and with fall comes that annual nuisance, flu season.
    The Pratt County Health Department is ramping up for flu vaccinations starting on Friday, Sept. 28 at the health department office at 712 South Main, said Deb McGraw, director of public health.
    Besides giving vaccinations at the department, in the past they have offered a drive-through vaccination location as part of their practice for point of dispensing in the event of a medical emergency.
    The public response to the remote vaccination site was good. Although the department has fulfilled their point of dispensing obligations and won't have to conduct another exercise for four years, McGraw is seeking public feed back on having another remote vaccination site for public convenience, McGraw said.
    If there were enough public interest, the department would consider having day for drive through vaccinations. Besides being convenient for the public, it would provide a valuable practice for volunteers so they will be ready at a moments notice in the event of a medical event, McGraw said.
    In the meantime, the department will begin offering vaccinations at the department at the end of September.
    Vaccinations will be offered on a walk-in basis with no appointment but reservations can be made if time is an issue. Just contact the health department at 672-4135 to check on an available time.
    When going in for a flu shot patients should bring their Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance card.
    "We've heard the public really likes to be able to walk in and get a shot," McGraw said. "I try to have nursing staff to meet their needs."
    Flu shots are especially important for the elderly, school age children, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women.
    The department is offering three variations of flu vaccinations this year.
    1. Flu zone: an intramuscular injection for children six months through the rest of the life span.
    2. Live Attenuated Intranasal Influenza Vaccination for ages two through 49. This is spray for both nasal passages for people who don't like needles and it lasts for an entire school year. However, it is not for people with chronic health problems like heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, neurological or neuromuscular disease, liver disease, diabetes, anemia or other blood disorders.
    3. Intra dermal: a shorter needled given high on the deltoid muscle up in the shoulder. It was requested in 2011 because of the shorter needle. It is for ages 18 to 64.
    The prices for these vaccinations will vary depending on what insurances companies will pay.
    It is very early in flu season and no cases have been reported in Pratt County at this time.
    Page 2 of 2 - Besides flu injections, the department is also going to look for evidence whooping cough. Incidents of the disease are on the rise in the state and the department will determine if the patient needs the whooping cough Tdap vaccination.
    "It's very important for the population to get the (whooping cough) vaccination to protect babies," McGraw said. "Babies can't be vaccinated until they are 2 months of age. If they get whooping cough they can die."
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