FREE Flu Clinics for Lexington Residents

By Town of Lexington Health Department

The Influenza (Flu) Vaccine will be available for Lexington residents sixty (60) years and older at St. Brigid’s Keilty Hall, 1997 Massachusetts Avenue on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 10:00am to 1:00pm. It will also be available on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at the Community Center from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Please bring your Medicare Part B or other health insurance card. You can still be vaccinated if you do not have a health insurance card.

All vaccines will be provided at the upcoming clinics free of charge to Lexington residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and given a “deli” style ticket which indicates that a vaccine dose is available for you as long as you are medically eligible to receive the dose. You will also be asked to complete a Vaccine Administration Record (VAR) and it will ask you for your health insurance information. Although insurance is not required to get vaccinated at the clinic, residents are asked to bring their health insurance cards, as the town can be reimbursed for administering vaccine at no cost to the resident.

According to Gerard Cody, Town of Lexington Health Director, “By providing your health insurance information, you will not be billed by your insurance provider. Health insurance providers want to encourage residents to get vaccinated because it is less expensive to vaccinate people than it is to cover a hospital visit due to a flu- like illness.  They also want to encourage local Boards of Health to conduct flu clinics and vaccinate as many people as possible. One way to encourage local Boards of Health to vaccinate is to provide a funding source to purchase vaccine and supplies. By providing your health insurance information to the Board of Health, you are helping to fund next year’s flu clinic at no cost to the town.”

The majority of the vaccine used during these clinics will be Flucelvax Quadrivalent flu vaccine. Quadrivalent offers protection for four different influenza viruses that are believed to be circulating in North America during the 2018 – 2019 flu season.

This year we changed providers and will be offering the “FLUAD 65+” vaccine in place of the “High Dose.” High Dose is a name used by the manufacturer Sanofi P. Our new vaccine provider is Seqirus; they are a vaccine manufacturer that specializes in flu vaccine only. Their product, called FLUAD, is equivalent and in some ways, superior to High Dose.

There will be a limited amount of FLUAD vaccine at these clinics. The FLUAD vaccine offers protection for only three influenza viruses.  If you prefer to be vaccinated with FLUAD 65+ vaccine, (which only offers protection for three influenza viruses), it may also be acquired at your doctor’s office, or local  pharmacies, and walk-in ambulatory clinics such as Carewell Urgent Care at 58 Bedford Street.

Questions and Answers about This Year’s Flu Vaccine

What is “FLUAD 65+” flu vaccine?

FLUAD is a flu shot designed for adults 65 and older and is the first FDA-approved seasonal flu shot that contains an immune-enhancing ingredient. FLUAD is a trivalent flu vaccine that offers protection against three strains of Flu, but it has something that others (“High Dose,” for example) don’t have: an immune-enhancing ingredient that can help provide a strong immune response to the flu in adults 65 and older.

The immune-enhancing ingredient in FLUAD is an oil derived from squalene. Squalene is a naturally occurring substance found in humans, animals, and plants. Squalene is made by the liver and normally circulates in the human body. For more information, you can visit their website at https://www.fluad.com/.

Is there a Preferred Type of Flu Vaccine to receive this Year?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated no preference for using high-dose or adjuvanted vaccine or standard-dose influenza vaccine for people age 65 and older. CDC and other groups do not have a preference for use of the 4-virus quadrivalent vaccine over the 3-virus trivalent vaccine.  Influenza vaccination should not be deferred if the high-dose or adjuvanted formulation is not immediately available. Standard dose vaccine should be given.

What strains of flu are covered in this year’s flu vaccine?

A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09–like virus

A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus

B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus (Victoria lineage)

B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage) Available in Quadrivalent Vaccine only

 When and Why Should I Get the Flu Vaccine?

Health experts recommend that patients should be vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available. The Flu season in Massachusetts typically begins in September/October and goes through April/May. The flu vaccine will cover you for the entire flu season, regardless of how early you get it.

The CDC reports that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu complications.

What if I am homebound and unable to get to a flu clinic?

The Lexington Human Services Nurse is available to make home visits to vaccinate homebound seniors residing in Lexington. Contact Alicia Grunes, RN, BSN at 781-698-4847 or agrunes@lexingtonma.gov

For further information or if you have any questions, contact the Office of Public Health, Gerard Cody, Public Health Director at 781-698-4503. To speak with a Public Health Nurse, please call (781) 698-4509 on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. If you would like more information on the Flu and Flu Vaccine, please visit www.mass.gov/flu and www.flu.gov .

*Future clinic dates are being planned, including family clinics and they will be announced as soon as additional doses of vaccine arrive. *

 

 

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