PDT Staff Writer
Both the Portsmouth City and the Scioto County health departments are gearing up for the flu shots season. According to a spokeswoman at the Portsmouth City Health Department, shots are available Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the City Health Department at the corner of Sixth and Washington streets in Portsmouth. According to that agency there are three types of killed vaccines - A-H1N1, A-H3N2, and B with subtypes A and B.
Ruth Montavon, Director of Nursing, with the Scioto County Health Department said there is a newer version of the vaccine calling for the high dose for people over the age of 65.
“It is highly recommended that people over 65 get that one, and we’ve got it,” Montavon said. “Another one that is new is the intradermal needle, the little tiny needle. Those are available for anyone 18 or older. They haven’t tested it yet on the little kids. We have the regular flu, flu-mist, which goes up the nose, the high dose and the intradermal.”
Montavon said people can get shots from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment any other time. However, she said it is preferred that people set up appointments for their flu shots by calling 740-354-3241.
“Right now we’re not having any flu activity around here at least at this point,” Scioto County Health Commissioner, Dr. Aaron Adams, said. “If we are, it’s very limited, and people aren’t going to the doctor. We’re not hearing from anybody being critically ill to the point that they would be hospitalized or our urgent cares or physicians being overwhelmed, and particularly pediatricians and OB doctors by sick people with flu-like symptoms.”
Adams said the flu scene does not seem threatening at this point.
“Early on we were concerned with that H3N2 the people were getting from the (county) fairs, that were directly exposed to swine, and we ended up with some cases throughout Ohio,” Adams said. “But nothing has amounted to anything. To this point we don’t think that flu strain is going from people to people. The people who were getting that were directly exposed to the swine at the fairs - mostly younger people, small children up to someone who was 61. I read recently that somebody died in Ross County that was exposed to that. So we’re not really seeing a whole lot of it at this point.”
Adams cautioned the situation can change and it could suddenly become more easily transmittable from people to people. Adams said last year’s flu season was mild with not much flu activity until March. Following that influx, it calmed down. Adams said the Centers for Disease Control is recommending getting shots at the earliest possible date.
“The best time to do it is before the flu season starts,” Adams said. “We anticipate an early flu season based on what we are seeing.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com