Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: October 15, 2013
Delaware kicked off its flu season Friday by offering free flu shots at its public immunization clinic at the New Castle Farmers Market near Route 273. Coming off a tough flu season from last year, DPH is working hard to further increase the number of people vaccinated. In calendar year 2013, there were 1,748 confirmed flu cases in Delaware with four flu-related deaths to date, compared to only 262 flu cases with no flu-related deaths at this same time last year.
Lt. Governor Matthew Denn, Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Landgraf, and DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay received their flu shots after making brief remarks.
"Last flu season was a tough year and shows us how hard it is to forecast how bad the flu season can be," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "Those who receive the flu vaccine should not miss work, school or community activities because of flu illness. And, they'll be protecting others, especially young children, from the illness."
"Stay well this flu season and get a flu shot," Lt. Governor Denn said. "It takes all of us to save lives and stop the spread of flu in Delaware."
DPH's "Get It" outreach campaign reminds Delaware residents - especially healthy 19-49 year olds - to get their annual flu shot. That age group is less likely to get the flu vaccine and among the most likely to transmit the disease. Influenza affects everyone, particularly children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions. DPH recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual flu shot.
"We must be attentive and responsive to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control's vaccination recommendations because the flu can be deadly and unpredictable," said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. About 36,000 people in the United States die from influenza every year.
DHSS asks Delawareans to first seek flu vaccine from their doctors. Those who do not have a doctor, cannot pay for the vaccine because they are uninsured, or have insurance that does not cover the vaccine, may be vaccinated at Public Health clinics. Flu vaccines are also available through most area pharmacies and grocery stores.
DPH's flu vaccination clinic schedule is posted at flu.delaware.gov. Though the vaccinations are free, donations and Medicaid will be accepted. Public Health clinics offer the intramuscular flu vaccine for ages 9 years and above, and the nasal FluMist for ages 9 years to 49 years. Children aged 6 months to 8 years who receive the flu vaccine for the first time need two doses.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.