Reporting Rick Dayton
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HOMEWOOD (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department is getting involved to spread the word about the flu shot.
One of their main targets is seniors and one group lined up to take advantage of free flu shots in Homewood Tuesday morning.
“This is a good way for us to get the message out, since there are so many seniors that come here, to talk about vaccination, immunization of the flu and they are lined up to get them today so that’s a good thing,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
Adults 65 and older account for 90 percent of the flu-related deaths in this country every year. That’s why seniors must get the flu shot every year.
“There are two key things. Getting the vaccine is a big help and if you notice somebody else has influenza, you might want to not be there too. That gives two layers of protection,” Allegheny Board Health Department Acting Director Dr. Ron Voorhees said.
Wilma Griffin comes to the Homewood Senior Center three days a week and hopes her fellow seniors get the message and get the shot.
“Because we are older and our immune system is a little bit low, so we need to get a booster shot and get this flu shot so we don’t get the flu,” Griffin said.
Dozens followed her lead, including Betty Toliver of the East End.
“It’s free, it doesn’t do me any harm, I’ll take it,” Toliver said.
This event is part of the Flu and You initiative in Allegheny County to get the word out to seniors.
“From the survey we did a couple of years ago, that less than three out of four seniors actually have gotten the influenza vaccine. So, we’re hoping to boost that up over 90 percent. We’re also hoping this year to get healthcare workers up over 90 percent because they play an important role in protecting their patients as well,” Dr. Voorhees said.