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In an effort to protect the public’s health and reduce the spread of the influenza (flu) virus that has heavily affected Connecticut, the State Department of Public Health has asked the Newtown Health District to partner with neighboring local health departments to administer additional influenza clinics for those residents who have not yet received the influenza vaccine.
In response to DPH’s request the Greater Danbury Public Health Departments and District (Danbury, Bethel, Ridgefield, Newtown, Redding, New Fairfield, Brookfield, Sherman, and New Milford) are working with the Bethel Visiting Nurse Association to provide a free/low cost influenza vaccine clinic on Saturday, February 10.
The clinic will be held at the Bethel VNA Office at 70 Stony Hill Road from 9 am until noon. The state DPH and Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert strongly encourage all residents over the age of 6 months of age to get a flu shot.
Managed by DPH, this program provides influenza vaccine free of charge for all children 6 months through 18 years of age. Vaccine for children comes from the Connecticut Vaccine Program. At the Bethel VNA, adult vaccine will be provided at no cost to those without insurance.
Residents with insurance should bring their card and will be charged a small administrative fee, but will not be charged out of pocket for the vaccine.
State health officials say flu activity in Connecticut continues to increase. As of January 27, nearly 3,000 people have tested positive for the flu so far this season, and 1,154 have been hospitalized with the illness. There have also been 52 flu-related deaths so far this season.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that is spread through the air and by direct contact with respiratory droplets. Typical symptoms of the flu include sudden fever, aching muscles, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, headache, and eye pain.
While anyone, particularly individuals who are not vaccinated, can contract the flu. The illness is especially dangerous for certain groups, including people aged 65 and older; children younger than 2 years old; people of any age with chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or lung disease; and pregnant women.