Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging Urge All Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Residents to Get Their Flu Vaccination
SCRANTON and WILKES-BARRE, Pa., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
- Area Agencies on Aging of Lackawanna County and Luzerne-Wyoming Counties host health fair and flu vaccination clinic on September 11.
- As we age our immune systems weaken and our ability to fight illness decreases, which means older adults are at increased risk for getting influenza and developing related complications.
- Influenza immunization is a Medicare benefit for people 65 years of age and older.
The Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging are hosting a health fair and flu clinics to reach older adults in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area with information about the dangers of the flu and the importance of receiving an annual influenza vaccination as the best way to help protect themselves from influenza and the complications which may result if they contract the flu. These efforts are part of a new national campaign called Flu + You from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which is designed to help educate older adults, their caregivers, and family members about influenza prevention and available vaccine options.
The immune system weakens with age, leaving adults 65 and older at highest risk for developing influenza and suffering its potentially deadly complications. Each year in the United States more than nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people over the age of 65.
“Despite the risks influenza poses to older adults, more than 30 percent of adults 65 and older in Pennsylvania did not get their flu shot during the 2010-2011 influenza season,” said Colin Holmes, Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging. “Through the Flu + You campaign, we hope to educate older adults about the need for immunization so that they get vaccinated and stay healthy this flu season.”
“Older adults are an important part of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre community and we want to help keep them active and healthy,” said Trula Hollywood, Executive Director of the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging. “This is why understanding their risk and taking action to prevent influenza is so crucial for older adults.”
As part of the Flu + You campaign in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging are joining forces to hold a health fair and flu clinic at the Electric City Trolley Museum in downtown Scranton on September 11 at 10:00 a.m. Representatives of both Area Agencies on Aging, along with Amy Szydlowski, MPA, MSW, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Northeast District, and Lackawanna County Commissioners Jim Wansacz, Corey O’Brien, and Patrick O’Malley will present to older adults about influenza and vaccination for their age group.
In addition, the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and the City of Wilkes-Barre Health Department will be hosting a series of influenza vaccination clinics throughout the influenza season.
Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to prevent influenza. In fact, an annual influenza immunization is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for everyone 6 months of age and older including older adults. So while it is helpful to take other preventative measures, such as covering coughs, washing hands, and staying away from people who are sick to prevent the spread of influenza virus, these cannot replace vaccination as the best method of protection.
“It is important for older adults to recognize that the flu can lead to serious complications, which can result in loss of productivity, hospitalizations, and reduced quality of life,” said Szydlowski. “Vaccination is the best defense against the flu, and I urge everyone to help protect themselves by getting an annual flu shot as soon as it is available each year and for older adults to understand how critically important this action can be.”
Adults 65 and older have two vaccine options available – the traditional flu shot, as well as a higher dose flu vaccine designed to address the age-related decline of the immune system to trigger a stronger immune response following influenza immunization. Both options are among the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults 65 years of age and older and are covered by Medicare Part B with no copay.
Older adults should talk to their health care providers about influenza and the vaccine options available to them. For more information on the Flu + You campaign or to download educational materials, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.
Flu + You
NCOA, with the support of Sanofi Pasteur, has developed educational materials designed to reach older adults, caregivers, and health care providers with critical information regarding influenza and immunization options.
For more information on Flu + You, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults–especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged–and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit: www.NCOA.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging
For more information, contact:
Lackawanna County Communications Director
(570) 963-6750 x1854
Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging
(570) 822-1158 x3312
National Council on Aging
SOURCE Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging; Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging