1:34pm

Thu September 22, 2011
Science/Health

Kentuckians Encouraged to Get Flu Vaccine

Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are calling on all Kentuckians to protect themselves against flu this season. Both recently received their influenza vaccinations from the local First Onsite Clinic nurse practitioners, who provide health care services for state employees in several state office clinics.  “The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a vaccine each season,” Gov. Beshear said. “The availability and affordability of the vaccine make it easier than ever to protect yourself.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a flu vaccine for all individuals older than six months of age.

People who should especially receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:
Children ages 6 months to 19 years;
Pregnant women;
People 50 years old or older;
People of any age with chronic health problems;
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
Health care workers;
Caregivers of or people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu. Also out-of-home caregivers of or people who live with children less than 6 months old.

Healthy, non-pregnant people aged 2-49 years can receive either the flu shot or the nasal vaccine spray.

“I especially encourage parents and school-aged children to receive the flu vaccine,” said Mrs. Beshear, “Keeping families protected with this vaccine will help prevent missed sick days and make for healthier environments in our homes and classrooms.” 

“Kentuckians should practice common sense precautions to prevent the flu,” said Public Health Acting Commissioner Steve Davis, M.D. “Avoid close contact with those who are ill, stay home when sick, cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and wash hands frequently.”

“The Commonwealth is also doing its part to protect teachers, retirees and state employees from the flu,” said Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer. “This year we are working to reduce flu-related health care costs by offering all Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (KEHP) members a free flu shot or nasal-spray vaccine.”

Members of KEHP can receive their free vaccination now through December 15 at a variety of participating provider locations including: doctors' offices, health clinics, retail pharmacies, local health departments and other medical providers. 

As part of a recent wellness pilot program, First Onsite Clinics were opened by the Personnel Cabinet’s Department of Employee Insurance in four state office buildings in Frankfort. The First Onsite Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and medical assistants and provide health and wellness services to state employees. Services offered at the clinics include: blood pressure monitoring, wellness goal setting and health coaching, weight management assistance, care for common illnesses such as the cold, allergy shots and much more.

For more information on influenza or the availability of flu immunizations, please contact your local health department or visit http://healthalerts.ky.gov.

If you are a Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan member you should visit the Personnel Cabinet’s website, http://personnel.ky.gov, for addition information on flu shots.