There are two reasons for getting an annual flu vaccine. The first reason is that because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses. The second reason that annual vaccination is recommended is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time and annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection. Therefore, annual vaccination is recommended even for those who received the vaccine for the previous season.

This years’ flu vaccine is safe and is made the same way as past flu vaccines and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. “Once you get vaccinated, your body makes protective antibodies in about two weeks,” added Mike Bacon. 
 “It is not too early to get your flu shot. The flu season can begin as early as October, but most commonly peaks in the January or February.  However, every flu season is different. Influenza affects everyone differently; even healthy can get the flu and it can be serious. Flu vaccine provided in September will give protection throughout the season,” said Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator, Mike Bacon.

This flu season, only one influenza vaccination is necessary. However, children younger than 9 years old who are being vaccinated for the first time need a second dose 4 or more weeks later in order to be protected.

People at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease; and people 65 years and older should make getting vaccinated a priority. Vaccination is also important for health care workers, and others who live or care for high risk people. Children younger than 6 months of age are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should also be vaccinated. 

“Health care providers in Northern Illinois are beginning to receive their 2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will be available in ample supply at local health departments, hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, and pharmacies,” said Sue Fuller, Public Information Officer, with the Winnebago County Health Department.

Early Flu Clinic: Heartland Church @ Colonial Village
Thursday, September 8, 2010 from 8:00 to 12:30
Friday, September 9, 2010 from 8:00 to 12:30
Saturday, September 10, 2010 from 8:00 to 12:00

The Winnebago County Health Department Health Promotion program will provide flu & pneumonia shots, along with various blood tests.

Flu shot: $30.00 or covered by Medicare Part B or covered by Medicaid           
Pneumonia shot: $60.00 or covered by Medicare Part B
Lipid panels (requires a 10 four fast): $20.00
CMP (requires a 10 hour fast): $20.00

The Winnebago County Health Department’s flu clinic schedule can be found at, or by calling 815-720-4264.

Take these everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and to prevent the flu.                                                                   
  • Clean your hands – Wash your hands with soap and warm water after coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
  • Cover your nose and mouth – Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing , if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow - not your hands
  • Contain your germs – Stay home if you have the flu. If you have fever or chills and a cough or sore throat, call your doctor.
For more information on 2011-2012 flu season visit the Winnebago County Health Department website, or the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) at