The City of Boston has declared a public health emergency due to a severe flu epidemic sweeping the city and the nation, and is offering free vaccinations to help stop the sometimes fatal disease.
Since Oct. 1, about 700 cases of the flu have been reported to health authorities, which is 10 times the number for all of last year, and four people have died from it. Typically only severe cases of the flu are reported. The disease can cause fever and respiratory problem. It can be deadly, especially to seniors, young children and people with existing medical conditions.
The Boston Public Health Commission is urging everyone over 6 months old to be vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccine can be given as an injection or as a nasal spray. Free vaccination will be available near Mission Hill on Sat., Jan. 12 at the following locations: Fenway Community Health Center (for ages 18 and older only), Ansin Building, 1340 Boylston St., Fenway, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Whittier Street Health Center, 1290 Tremont St. 1st Floor, Roxbury, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
“I got my flu shot, and I’m asking every Boston resident over the age of 6 months to do the same,” said Mayor Thomas Menino in a press release. “It’s the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family during this severe flu season.”
In addition to vaccination, health authorities urge everyone to take basic steps to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing. Avoiding touching your nose and mouth, which can spread germs to and from you. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are ill, especially with a fever, stay home.
Free vaccines will be available at other locations around the city as well. For more information or any help in getting vaccinated, call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 during business hours on weekdays, or the Mayor’s Hotline at any time at 617-635-4500.
From press materials.