Vaccinations for seasonal influenza now available Monday through Friday at UTHSCT flu clinic

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is the prime time of year for seasonal flu in East Texas, but there’s a quick and easy way to protect yourself: get a flu shot.

And, while seasonal flu vaccine has been in short supply since last fall, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler recently received a large shipment and is offering seasonal flu shots to the public.

UTHSCT is holding a flu clinic from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the first floor lobby of the Riter Center.

This clinic offers flu shots to protect you from seasonal flu, not the new H1N1 influenza strain.

UTHSCT is located at the intersection of U.S. 271 and Texas 155 in Tyler.

“The flu season here is just getting started, so it’s not too late to get your seasonal flu shot. We have plenty of seasonal flu vaccine, and we want to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccination gets one,” said Melissa Maeker, UTHSCT’s director of pharmacy.

Jeffrey Levin, MD, chairman of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said seasonal flu causes much illness and many deaths in the United States each year.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an average year more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from seasonal flu complications.

“It’s especially important this year to get a seasonal flu shot, because we’ve already had an outbreak of a different flu strain, H1N1 flu. Having a seasonal flu vaccination will help in determining the proper treatment of people with flu-like illness,” Dr. Levin said.

Although experts have determined that the H1N1 flu outbreak is subsiding, that’s not the case for seasonal flu, which usually becomes widespread this time of year.

The CDC says that everyone older than 6 months of age who wants to reduce their chances of contracting the flu should get a flu shot.

People who have a higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu are:

  • children aged 6 months to 19 years
  • pregnant women
  • people 50 years of age and older
  • anyone with a chronic medical condition
  • residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • people who live with or take care of those at high risk for complications from the flu, including health care workers and household contacts and caregivers of children less than 5 years of age, especially those who take care of children less than 6 months of age.

The cost is $25 per vaccination. Immunizations will be given at no cost to people with Medicare, if they have their Medicare card.

For more information about the flu shot clinic, call (903) 877-7000.

For 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatments, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. With an operating budget of more than $125 million and biomedical research funding that exceeds $10 million annually, UTHSCT has a major economic impact on East Texas. Its two medical residency programs – in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities in East Texas and beyond. For more information, visit www.uthct.edu.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.