Michigan Department of Community Health Encourages Residents to Receive Influenza Vaccine

December 21, 2001

Michigan Department of Community Health Director, James K. Haveman, Jr. today encouraged Michigan residents who have not yet received an influenza vaccination to do so. There had been a nationwide delay in the delivery of the majority of influenza vaccine. This delay is no longer an issue for Michigan residents as there is sufficient vaccine available for everyone who wishes to be protected against the flu.

"It is important that individuals and healthcare providers know that there is sufficient supply of vaccine available in Michigan. The influenza vaccine can continue to be administered throughout the month of December and into early 2002," said Haveman. "Getting an influenza vaccination is especially important for those who are at a higher risk of the complications from influenza, such as those over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions."

"Each year we urge residents to protect themselves by receiving the influenza vaccine," said Department of Community Health Chief Medical Executive, Dr. David R. Johnson. Even with the recent introduction of new drugs to treat influenza, the best protection against influenza is vaccination."

There is sporadic influenza activity at this time in Michigan and it has been determined that the virus that is causing influenza is one of the three strains that the vaccine can protect against. Typically flu in Michigan does not peak until January or February, so there is still time to become protected, as it takes about two weeks for a person to develop protection after receiving the vaccine.

Those individuals who have not yet received the influenza vaccine and are at a higher risk from the complications of the flu are strongly urged to get this important vaccination. This includes people over the age of 65 and those who have a chronic medical condition. Vaccines are available from individual physicians, local health departments or other community vaccine providers. Healthy persons aged 50-65, individuals who have contact with high-risk people, or any other person wanting to reduce their risk for flu are also encouraged to be vaccinated.