Pa. launches flu shot awareness campaign

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Nov 27, 2015 2:28 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Flu season peaks in January, but Pennsylvania health officials are already taking on a new campaign to get people vaccinated now.

The early start comes a year after the vaccine wasn't as effective as usual. 

The state's campaign - called Stopping the Flu Starts with You - includes free or low-cost flu vaccine clinics and outreach.

The vaccine comes with a $5 dollar administrative fee, but no one will be denied it based on their inability to pay.

Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy says questions about last year's vaccine was a driving force behind the latest vaccine effort.

"That's one of the reasons why we've launched the campaign, and really trying to get the word out there. The CDC the type of immunization that we have, the vaccine, should be effective this year," says Dr. Murphy.

"The CDC believes that they have identified correctly, so we are encouraging everybody to get their flu vaccine this year."

Last year's vaccine was only about 23 percent effective, compared to previous year's numbers that were closer to 60 percent.

Murphy says it's especially important for pregnant women and older people to get the vaccine, because they're more susceptible to the flu.

Murphy adds that more people might also try to get the vaccine this year, since the state's Medicaid program has expanded.

The Department is holding free or low-cost flu vaccination clinics this week.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the vaccine was free for those within income guidelines, and $5 for those above income guidelines. 

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