Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 4:54 EDT

Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast and the Palm Beach County Health Department Urge Residents To Get Their Flu Vaccinations

September 12, 2012

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast and the Palm Beach County Health Department are hosting an influenza awareness event and free flu vaccination clinic at Boynton Beach Senior Center on September 13 to share information about the dangers of the flu, and to educate older adults about 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. The event is 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, nearly 35 percent of adults 65 and older in Florida did not get their flu shot during the 2010-2011 influenza season,” said Jaime Esperanza-Fitzgerald, CEO of the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast. “Older adults are an important part of the West Palm Beach community and we want to help keep them active and healthy. This is why understanding their risk and taking action to prevent influenza is so crucial for older adults.”

“Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to prevent influenza,” adds Alina Alonso, MD, director, Palm Beach County Health Department. “In fact, an annual influenza immunization is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, including older adults. So while it is helpful to take other preventive measures, such as covering coughs, washing hands, and staying home when sick to prevent the spread of influenza virus, these cannot replace vaccination as the best method of protection.”

As part of the Flu + You campaign, the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast will be hosting an educational event and flu vaccination clinic at Boynton Beach Senior Center on Thursday, September 13 at 10:30 a.m. to further educate local older adults and their caregivers about influenza and vaccination for this age group.

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.

“The flu can lead to other serious complications like pneumonia in older adults,” said Dr. Alonso. “An annual flu shot is a good first step toward prevention and we also recommend adults 65 and older get the pneumonia vaccine. One pneumonia shot offers a lifetime of protection.”

Older adults should talk to their health care providers about influenza and the vaccine options available to them. For more information about influenza prevention or the September 13 event, please call Karen Roberts of the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast at (561) 684-5885. For more information on the Flu + You campaign or to download educational materials, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.

Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast
The Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc. is a dynamic non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of all seniors and their caregivers in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties.

Part of a nationwide network, The Area Agency on Aging provides information on aging issues, advocacy, one-on-one assistance and a host of services that help seniors maintain their independence and dignity.

Palm Beach County Health Department
The Palm Beach County Health Department has served as a model public health agency for the State of Florida and many other States throughout the country. For over 60 years it has been The Champion for the Healthiest Community in the Nation. www.pbchd.com

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.

About NCOA
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

Media Contacts:

Karen Roberts
Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast

Eileen Masciale
National Council on Aging

SOURCE The Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast

Source: PR Newswire