CHICAGO – Dec. 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Walgreens to encourage Illinoisans to get a seasonal flu shot. Governor Quinn also highlighted Walgreens’ recent announcement that it is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to offer more than $10 million worth of free flu shot vouchers to Americans without health insurance and those unable to afford one.
“We have a responsibility to each other to stay healthy this flu season and I commend Walgreens for its ongoing illness-prevention and wellness efforts,” Governor Quinn said. “Getting a flu shot is convenient and helps to guard against sickness that impacts our families and our work.”
Deerfield-based Walgreens offers flu immunizations daily at all of its more than 600 locations across Illinois, including all Walgreens pharmacies and Take Care Clinics. Flu shots are available during all pharmacy and clinic hours with no appointment necessary. For information about the flu shot voucher program in Illinois, consumers can contact their local health department, which can be found by visiting the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/flu/.
“We appreciate Governor Quinn reinforcing and recognizing the need for protection and prevention by receiving his flu shot today,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “Flu activity in the U.S. peaks in January and February more than 70 percent of the time so there’s still a long way to go. With the dedication and support of our pharmacists and Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners in communities statewide, we hope to help keep Illinois healthy throughout flu season.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year an estimated 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. On average, influenza in the U.S. results in approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and more than 25,000 deaths annually. Flu symptoms may include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above, headache, body aches, exhaustion, chills and weakness.
The influenza virus can be spread through coughing or sneezing. People can also get the flu by touching objects carrying the virus, such as telephones and door knobs, and then touching their mouth or nose.
The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over the age of six months. Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are at higher risk of complications from influenza. Side effects are mild; some individuals may experience mild flu-like symptoms for a few days after vaccination and soreness at the injection site.
For more information about the seasonal flu shot, visit www.idph.state.il.us/flu/, www.flu.gov, or www.walgreens.com/flu.