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National Influenza Vaccination Week recognized by Alaska and state health clinics

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Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
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The state is waiving administration fees through December 13th for all flu vaccines. 

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is recognizing the initiative by waiving administrative fees for the flu vaccine through December 13th.  KDLG’sThea Card reports.

National Influenza Vaccination Week was established to highlight the importance of the vaccine.  State epidemiologist at DHSS Louisa Castrodale says the vaccine is the best way to fight against the flu.

“It’s especially important for vulnerable folks who are at higher risk for complications such as pregnant women or small children, people who have a chronic medical condition. Things like that, it’s important for them to head off those severe complications.”

Alaska is seeing some weird trends in flu.  In the summer, the state saw an abnormally high number of cases and now the expected flu season seems to have hit earlier.  In November, 32 were reported to have the flu in Southwest Alaska alone.  Just under 700 cases were reported statewide. 

Castrodale says there are different methods of administering the vaccine depending on the age group and availability in the community.

“A nasal spray for certain age groups and you need to follow the directions pretty carefully because there are some groups for whom that vaccine is not indicated. But there is the injectable form and the nasal spray.”

During this week the state of Alaska is waiving the administration fee at public health centers and clinics.  The state is also making the vaccine free to all children under the age of three.  For those of us older than three, the vaccine is also free if you don’t have health insurance or you do have it but it doesn’t cover vaccines, you haven’t met your deductible or don’t know if it covers the vaccines.