Oct. 6, 2017, Pontiac, Mich. – The Oakland County Health Division strongly urges residents to take action and get vaccinated against flu in the wake of a flu-associated death in a senior citizen from Oakland County.
“My heart goes out to the family,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “This is an unfortunate reminder that influenza can be a very serious illness, especially in adults over the age of 65.”
The Health Division recommends everyone over the age of six months receive an influenza vaccination. Those who are at a higher risk of flu complications such as children younger than 5-years-old, pregnant women, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions should especially get a flu shot and take preventive actions.
“Flu season has just begun so this is a critical time to get vaccinated, which is the best way to prevent the flu,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “You can also help prevent the flu by washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when sick.”
Getting an annual flu shot decreases the risk of getting the flu. It also helps decrease severity of illness and complications and protects the entire community, especially those who are unable to be vaccinated.
The flu virus can be spread to others as far as six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. Washing your hands often with soap and water is a proactive way to avoid this. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Flu shots are available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield from Noon – 8 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics. Flu shots cost $25. The high-dose flu shot recommended for those 65 years and older is $47 and is covered by Medicare.
Payment options include cash, credit (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa), Medicare, Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic. OCHD participates in the Vaccines for Children Program. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay; there is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.
For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health; follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC; or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY: Please contact Kathy Forzley, Director of Oakland County Health and Human Services, at 248-858-1293.