Friday, January 4, 2008
Fort Worth offering free flu shots for qualifying children
Hot Shots is a program targeting children in low-income families that are underinsured, have no insurance, or are covered under CHIP or Medicaid.
The Fort Worth Public Health Department’s Hot Shots Program is offering free flu shots during its regularly scheduled vaccination clinics for qualifying children from 6 months to 18 years of age.
The free vaccination clinics are offered from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on select Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays at fire stations 3 (4700 Ramey St.), 15 (3100 Azle Ave.) and 17 (212 E. Felix St.). Clinics scheduled for this month are 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 14 at Fire Station 3, 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 13 and 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 24 at Fire Station 15, and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 6 and 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 17 at Fire Station 17.
While October and November are optimal months for getting vaccinated, receiving the flu vaccine anytime through December and beyond can still be beneficial, as the flu season can last as late as May. The flu, which causes symptoms such as high fever, headache, cough, nausea, weakness and muscle aches, is contagious and most often transmitted through sneezing and coughing but can also be caught by touching infected surfaces.
“Children do not wash their hands as often as we want them to and that tends to put them at a higher risk of respiratory infections, like the flu,” said Hot Shots Program Coordinator Lisa Petersen. “Luckily we do have flu vaccine available and we encourage parents to take advantage of this free opportunity.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu kills approximately 36,000 people in the United States and causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year. Therefore, it recommends vaccination of individuals beginning at 6 months of age every year.
Other vaccines available through the Hot Shots Program include: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenza B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Varicella, Pneumococcus, Meningitis and Rotavirus.
Hot Shots is a grant funded immunization program targeting children in low-income families that are underinsured, have no insurance, or are covered under CHIP or Medicaid. The program is a partnership between the Fort Worth Public Health and Fire departments with a goal of breaking down physical and financial barriers to preventive immunizations.
Parents planning to participate in the vaccination clinic must bring each child’s shot records. Vaccination records are not necessary for children who are only getting a flu shot. For specific dates, times and locations of clinics or additional information about Hot Shots, visit www.fortworthgov.org/publichealth or call 817-994-1391.
Source: City of Fort Worth