February 24, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  February 22, 2011

For More Information Contact

Gordon Green, M.D., director, West Piedmont Health District, 276-638-2311

Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-381-7100, x 151 or 540-580-2960






(MARTINSVILLE, Virginia) - It is not too late to get a flu shot! The West Piedmont Health District will offer free seasonal flu vaccine at a series of special public clinics in February and March, and during regular clinic hours at local health departments. Vaccine is available to everyone over the age of six months, and will be available in injectable form.


Special public vaccination clinics will be held as follows:

•·         Wednesday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Liberty Fair Mall (in the old Verizon store), 240 Commonwealth Blvd., Martinsville, 276-666-2340

•·         Tuesday and Wednesday, Mar. 1 and 2, 4 to 8 p.m. - Trade Show, at the Clock Tower on Franklin St., Martinsville (signs will be posted at the site)

•·         Thursday, Mar. 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Liberty Fair Mall (in old Verizon store), 240 Commonwealth Blvd., Martinsville, 276-666-2340

•·         Thursday, March 24, 8 a.m. to noon - Armory Senior Fair, 315 West Commonwealth Blvd. (next door to the Henry-Martinsville Health Department), Martinsville


Regular vaccination clinics at local health departments will be held as follows:

•·         Henry-Martinsville Health Department, 295 Commonwealth Blvd., Martinsville, 276-638-2311.

    • Mondays, walk-in, no appointment is needed.
    • Thursdays, 2 to 4 p.m., walk-in, no appointment is needed.

•·         Franklin County Health Department, 365 Pell Ave., Rocky Mount, 540-484-0292. Tuesdays by appointment only. Please call for an appointment.

•·         Patrick County Health Department, 106 Rucker St., Stuart, 276-693-2070. Thursdays, 2 to 4 p.m. By appointment only. Please call for an appointment.


"It's not too late to get a flu vaccine, and vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications," said Gordon Green, M.D., director of the West Piedmont Health District. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health recommend that all persons over the age of six months be vaccinated annually. Flu is here, flu can be deadly, and we're all at greater risk of contracting the flu right now than at any time this season. With plenty of flu season ahead, it's still very important to get vaccinated if you haven't done so this year."


This year's seasonal flu vaccine also contains protection against the H1N1 strain of flu that caused so much illness last year. The vaccine takes full effect within two weeks and its benefits last for up to a year.


Annual vaccination is recommended for everyone over six months of age, and is especially recommended for the following high-risk groups:

•·         Persons at high risk for complications, including children ages six months to five years, pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions and people who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

•·         People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications, including household contacts of persons at high risk, household contacts and caregivers of children less than six months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated as their bodies will not respond to the vaccine well enough to be helpful, it is not a safety issue) and health care workers.


Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious (the virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear) and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.


The influenza season in southwest Virginia usually peaks in January and February. Each year in the United States approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness, and flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000 each year -- averaging 24, 000 -- over the last three decades.


To minimize your risk of contracting flu, follow these simple steps:

•·                     get vaccinated;

•·                     wash your hands frequently and thoroughly;

•·                     cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hand; and

•·                     minimize contact with sick people if you're well, and with well people if you're sick.


For more information, visit or call the West Piedmont Health District at 276-638-2311.


#     #     #