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FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) (David Goldman/AP)

The flu vaccination clinic seasons begins Tuesday, Oct. 1 as the South Carroll Senior and Community Center offers the first of five flu shot clinics to be hosted at senior centers around Carroll County. Vaccinations for those age 9 and older will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be $25 for those without insurance.

The clinics at the Taneytown, Westminster, Mount Airy and North Carroll senior centers will be held on Oct. 2, , Oct. 3, Oct. 4 and Oct. 9, respectively. Vaccinations in Carroll County Public Schools, meanwhile, will be offered Oct. 22 through Oct. 25.

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If you are sensing a theme here, it’s October.

“Between the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and our local knowledge, October really is the month to get your flu shot,” Maggie Kunz, a health planner with the Carroll County Health Department. “That’s when we think is the best time to get, but if you’ve already gotten it, that’s great. And even if you don’t get it by the end of October, that’s OK, you should still get it.”

October is still early enough that the main swing of the flu season, as it typically plays out in Carroll County, has yet to begin, according to Carroll Deputy Health Officer Dr. Henry Taylor, while it’s not too early to ensure the vaccination offers protection all flu season long.

“It tends to be most intense in December through February, with a second spike in the later spring,” Taylor said of the Carroll flu season.

And because the season can run into the spring, Kunz said, anytime from here on out is a good time to get a flu shot.

“The most consistent rule of thumb is to get it by the end of October if possible, but it’s never too late,” she said.

And there will be ample opportunities. In addition to the senior center vaccination clinics, primary care physicians and pharmacies may also offer flu shots, and those interested can find a lost of locations offering the vaccine — along with other resources for flu season — on the Health Department’s flu clinic page at cchd.maryland.gov/2019-flu-vaccination-clinics.

And for those school-age children who might miss the Carroll County Public Schools clinics, the Health Department will be hosting clinics on Oct. 30 and Nov. 13, according to Kunz.

“People should have already gotten emails from their schools about how to register and what days their schools will offer vaccination,” she said. Then the Health Department typically holds a couple of clinics after the school vaccinations have been given so that people who either couldn’t get them in their home school, or missed them, or anyone who homeschools or goes to private school can get them."

Also potentially available at the Health Department clinics — though not 100% guaranteed at this point, according to Kunz — will be the FluMist, a nasally administered vaccine.

The FluMist will likely be available once again through private providers, according to Taylor.

“Several years ago there were questions about the effectiveness of FluMist, so it was not offered,” he said. “However, this year and last year, it has been found to be equivalent to the injections.”

The CDC is not placing as much emphasis on which vaccine formulation — trivalent, quadrivalent or high strength trivalent — people should use this year, according to Kunz, though people can ask their doctor if they believe they may need the higher strength vaccine.

“I think the CDC doesn’t want to get people too tripped up on this or that one,” she said. “Getting one is better than not getting one.”

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That goes double for those at higher risk, such as the elderly, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women, Kunz said, but what the Health Department would really like to communicate for the 2019-2020 flu season is the importance of working-age adults getting vaccinated.

“People somewhere between the ages of 18 and 64 who are not getting vaccinated at such high rates,” she said. “They tend to be busy and maybe not see it as important, or see themselves as healthy.”

But it’s important for working adults who have older adults or young children in their lives to realize that by getting vaccinated, they are helping to protect their loved ones, according to Kunz.

“And of course what’s important to a lot of those working age adults is not missing work,” she said.

More Information

Carroll County flu vaccination clinics will be held on:

⋅Tuesday, Oct. 1: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg

⋅Wednesday, Oct. 2: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Taneytown Senior and Community Center, 220 Roberts Mill Road, Taneytown

⋅Thursday, Oct. 4: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Westminster Senior and Community Center, 125 Stoner Avenue, Westminster

⋅Friday, Oct. 4: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Mount Airy Senior and Community Center, 703 Ridge Avenue, Mount Airy

⋅Wednesday, Oct. 9: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. North Carroll Senior and Community Center, 23 28 Hanover Pike, Hampstead

⋅Oct. 22-Oct. 25: In-school vaccinations offered in Carroll County Public Schools for students

⋅Wednesday, Oct. 30: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. no cost clinic for children six months to 18, Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St., Westminster

⋅Wednesday, Nov. 13: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. no cost clinic for children six months to 18, Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St., Westminster

Further Carroll County information on the flu can be found at the health department website: cchd.maryland.gov/2019-flu-vaccination-clinics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site for the 2019-2020 flu season an be found at: www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2019-2020.htm.

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