LEONARDTOWN, MD (October 12, 2016) – The first confirmed case of influenza (flu) has already occurred in Maryland. Because it takes about two weeks after vaccination to provide protection against the flu, the St. Mary’s County Health Department reminds residents to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart, so parents should begin their vaccination now if they have not done so already.
“Influenza immunizations are recommended for everyone over the age of six months,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “It is especially important for individuals who are at high risk for complications.”
Groups at higher risk of complications from the flu include:
- Children six months to 18 years of age
- Persons 50 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
- Persons with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart, lung or kidney disease
- Persons undergoing therapy or with a condition that may weaken their immune system
Persons who care for someone in these groups should also be sure to get vaccinated to avoid spreading the flu to them. This includes healthcare workers, caregivers, and those working in child care and school settings.
St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan (4th District), who recently visited the Health Department to receive his annual his flu vaccination, urged residents to do the same. “Prevention is the best medicine, get your flu shot now and avoid the rush. It’s painless,” said Commissioner Morgan.
Immunizations are typically offered in primary care doctors’ offices, as well as some local pharmacies. The St. Mary’s County Health Department also offers flu vaccinations, by appointment only, for a fee of $25 for adults and at no cost for children. Appointments with the health department can be made by calling 301-475-4330.