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Most Vulnerable Urged to Protect Against Flu

By Dain Weister

December 09, 2014

ORLANDO- Give yourself and your family the gift of protection from the flu with an influenza vaccination during this year’s holiday season. This week, December 7 – 13, 2014, is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). The goal is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications. In recent weeks, the Florida Department of Health has been receiving reports of increasing flu activity especially in children and pregnant women.    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu vaccine for all people 6 months of age and older. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications such as anyone 65 years of age and older and those with certain other medical conditions. Seasonal flu is a serious disease that causes illness, hospitalizations, and deaths every year in the United States. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of influenza associated deaths occur among adults 65 years and older. Some deaths, particularly in the elderly, are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias). Besides older adults, pregnant women and children can be at higher risk of complications from influenza.

“Flu shots are important, and will provide you and your loved ones the best protection from getting sick with the flu when participating in family gatherings during this upcoming holiday season”, said Lesli Ahonkhai, Assistant Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

“Flu can cause severe illness even in otherwise healthy individuals. Even mild cases can lead to several days of missed school or work due to the extreme fatigue the disease causes, said Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Officer for the Department of Health in Seminole County.

Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause the flu that particular year.  This year’s vaccine once again provides protection against the H1N1 (pandemic) influenza and up to three other flu virus strains.    

It can take up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu.

Flu shots for children and adults are offered at the DOH-Orange’s Central Health Center located at 832 West Central Boulevard, Monday through Friday from 7:30am- 2:00pm on a first-come, first-serve walk in basis. No appointment is necessary.  The immunization program is closed the 2nd Friday of each month.  

In Seminole County, flu shots for children and adults are available at the DOH-Seminole Sanford location at 400 West Airport Boulevard by appointment Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for the 2nd Thursday of each month, when the office closes at 11:30. Flu shots are free in both counties for children 6 months through 18 years of age. Go to and for more information.