Influenza vaccines now available

Flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season is now available. We have injectable and nasal forms of the vaccine available for both Oregon Health Plan and patients on private insurance. Children without insurance qualify for the Vaccine For Children program and would only need to pay the administration fee since the vaccine itself is provided free. We anticipate adequate supply this year and have ordered more doses than we gave last year.

h2. What is included in this years flu vaccine?

The vaccine this year as in past years includes protection against three strains of the influenza vaccine. The 2009 H1N1 influenza A strain was included in this year's vaccine as it is anticipated to be common circulating strain this coming winter season. The 2009 H1N1 caused the same flu symptoms as other strains and while it resulted in widespread infection last year it did not generally result in more serious infection. Unlike last year there is only the seasonal flu vaccine with no need for separate single antigen H1N1 vaccine.

h2. How will we be giving it out?

* As in past years any patient and their sibling in our office for scheduled appointment can be given flu vaccine if no medical contraindications at that time (high fever, ill, etc).
* [Update] Influenza vaccines are for our registered patients and their caregivers. Siblings will need to be registered patients to receive a vaccine from us.
* This week we have added times for scheduled flu shot only visits occurring primarily on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
* One change this year is we are now offering shots on a walk-in basis throughout our weekday hours. We are no longer asking families to wait until Saturday to walk-in for a vaccine. We hope expanding these hours will prove to be a convenience for our families.

h2. What about the parents?

For the first time we are now offering the influenza vaccine to parents. We believe protecting our patients is best done by providing vaccine to all members of the household. This is especially important for parents of young children and infants. There is a $20 charge per vaccine would need to be paid at the time of administration of the vaccine. We will not be billing parent's insurance for this charge. If the parent would like the vaccine to be billed through their insurance then they should seek out the vaccine from their own doctor's office or retail pharmacy. Health department is another option for obtaining influenza vaccine.

h2. Where can I learn more?

* "CDC Flu Information":http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
* "Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Vaccine Information Center":http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/a-look-at-each-vaccine/influenza-vaccine.html
* "American Academy of Pediatrics - Influenza information page":http://www.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/flu/influenza.html
* "Wikipedia Influenza Page":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza
* "Google Flu Trends":http://www.google.org/flutrends/us/#US

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