October 16, 2008
County Offers Flu Shots for Senior Citizens
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Barbara Burbage of Brandon, who was one of dozens of local senior residents receiving flu shots early this year. Every fall, senior citizens get to move to the head of the line to obtain a flu immunization shot. Thanks to the effort and cooperation between those who have the means to support this program, this year is no different. Once again, the Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services and the Florida Health Department have joined forces and begun offering flu and pneumonia immunizations to county seniors (those 60 years of age and older) and others in the community at each of the county’s senior centers. Starting in October, those with Medicare part B can receive the flu shots for free, while for HMO or other forms of insurance holders, the cost of the shot is $25. “We have been offering the shots for the members of this community and for our senior residents here at the center for a long time,” said Brandon Senior Center nurse Carol Swilley. Swilley explained that as it has always been true, annual flu immunizations are more important for seniors as they are more likely to develop complications if they do get the flu. “Without the shot, a serious case of flu can develop quickly and worsen rapidly,” Swilley said, adding, “With the shot, flu symptoms are shorter and the severity is much less.” Swilley’s words ring true in a statement from the Center of Disease Control, saying that the single best way to avoid the flu is to get an immunization. During the recent immunization, the Brandon Senior Center saw close to 50 who took advantage of the offer. “A very good turn out,” according to Swilley. Flu shots will continue to be offered to all seniors in Hillsborough County at the various senior centers for the rest of October and early November. Residents can receive a flu shot at the nearest Senior Center. For more information, please call the Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services at 272-6630.