State provides free flu shots for young

State provides free flu shots for young Flu shots are so important for children between 6 months and 23 months that the state will provide the vaccine to them free of charge this season.

"It's common knowledge that the elderly are at high risk for complications from influenza but fewer people are aware that kids between 6 months and 23 months are also at high risk for complications and even hospitalization from the flu," said Gov. Mike Rounds. "That's why I've asked the Department of Health to carry out a special flu campaign this year to make the shots available free of charge to children in this age group."

Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth said 6- to 23-month-olds were added to the list of high risk groups by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices just this year and many parents are still unaware of the recommendation.

She said the department's local community health nursing offices will be working closely with child care providers and WIC offices will be working closely with child care providers and WIC offices to make the shots available, in some cases on site and in others at specially scheduled clinics. The intent is to administer the shots during the month of November. Parents should know that when children 6 to 23 months old receive the shot for the first time, a booster is required one month after the first dose.

Each year in the United States, influenza results in an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations.

To find out when shots will be available in your area, call the local community health nursing office, A listing of offices is available on the Web at www.state.sd.us/doh/Address/comm.htm. For more information about influenza, visit the Web at www.state.sd.us/doh/Flu.

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