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Health, Science & Tech

As Flu Season Approaches, ACHD Says Get a Shot

As the cooler weather moves in so do the heavier jackets and sniffles, and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)  is gearing up for the coming flu season by offering vaccinations.

Starting Monday (9/15) the ACHD’s vaccine clinic in Oakland will provide flu shots for $25.

“The single best way to protect against the flu is to vaccinate people, and it’s recommended for everyone six months of age and older,” said Sharon Silvestri, the Chief of Infectious Disease at Allegheny Health Department.

Last year there were a reported 2,425 flu cases in Allegheny County, more than any other county. The flu kills anywhere from 3,000-49,000 people per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Symptoms can include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and diarrhea, and Silvestri says the symptoms can come on quickly, “One minute you’re feeling fine, the next you just do not feel well.” 

This year the clinic will be offering a quadrivalent flu vaccine which protects against two A types (H1N1 Type A and H3N2 Type A) and two B types.

“They pick the strains of flu that they feel are going to protect people. Some years those strains are more accurate than others, and until the season starts going and people actually get sick and we can do some cultures and find out what kind of flu they have, we often don’t know if it’s a good match, ” said Silvestri.

The clinic will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-4pm and on Wednesdays from 1-8pm. The vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B, and will be offered without thimerosal for uninsured/underinsured children. To check the availability call (412)687-ACHD (2243). The vaccine can also be found anywhere with a pharmacy or a medical unit.