Health Department offers free flu shots as season worsens

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Feb 16, 2018 4:33 AM

(Harrisburg) -- This flu season is particularly severe, with nearly 62,000 cases statewide and more than 8,600 confirmed cases just in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, and York counties.

The state Health Department is responding by creating more opportunities for people to get a flu shot.

The agency is holding 41 free flu vaccine clinics across the state through the end of the month. A full list can be found here.

Doctors say the shot is still the best way to prevent the flu, or at least protect against the most serious symptoms.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says with 107 flu-related deaths reported statewide since October, the season is not over yet.

"The flu season can last certainly through February, through March and into April and occasionally even beyond," Levine said. "But we maybe are just seeing the peak of the flu season."

Levine says cases seem to have plateaued in the last week.

She urges people who are sick to stay home until they are better, and to frequently wash their hands to stem the spread of the virus.

Most health insurance plans cover the shot free of charge, but Levine says her department wants to give people every opportunity to get vaccinated.

"There are still individuals who are uninsured or underinsured or maybe their state health center is the most accessible place for them to go," Levine said.

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