ElderSource (Area Agency on Aging) and the Duval County Health Department Urge Flu Vaccination for Jacksonville Residents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ElderSource (Area Agency on Aging) is hosting a health fair and free flu vaccination clinic at the Williams YMCA to reach older adults in the Jacksonville area with information about the dangers of the flu and the importance of receiving an annual influenza vaccination as the best way to help protect themselves from influenza and the complications which may result if they contract the flu. The event is part of a new national campaign called Flu + You from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which is designed to help educate older adults, their caregivers, and family members about influenza prevention and available vaccine options. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. will provide pharmacists and vaccines to support the free flu vaccination clinic.

The immune system weakens with age, leaving adults 65 and older at highest risk for developing influenza and suffering its potentially deadly complications. Each year in the United States more than nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people over the age of 65.

Despite the risks influenza poses to older adults, nearly 35 percent of adults 65 and older in Florida did not get their flu shot during the 2010-2011 influenza season. Older adults are an important part of the Jacksonville community and the goal is to keep them active and healthy. That is why understanding the risks and taking action to prevent influenza is so crucial for older adults.

"Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to prevent influenza," adds Linda Levin, executive director of ElderSource (Area Agency on Aging). "In fact, an annual influenza immunization is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for everyone 6 months of age and older including older adults. So while it is helpful to take other preventative measures, such as covering coughs, washing hands, and staying away from people who are sick to prevent the spread of influenza virus, these cannot replace vaccination as the best method of protection."

Adults 65 and older have two vaccine options available – the traditional flu shot, as well as a higher dose flu vaccine designed to address the age-related decline of the immune system to trigger a stronger immune response following influenza immunization. Both options are among the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults 65 years of age and older and are covered by Medicare Part B with no copay.

"Even healthy older adults can suffer from serious flu-related complications like pneumonia, which can result in death," said Dr. Lilian Obrero-Gines from the Visiting Physicians Association (VPA). "Vaccination is the best defense against the flu, and I urge everyone to help protect themselves by getting an annual flu shot as soon as it is available each year and for older adults to understand how critically important this action can be."

As part of the Flu + You campaign in Jacksonville, ElderSource will be hosting a health fair and free flu vaccination clinic at the Williams YMCA on October 4, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. to further educate local older adults and their caregivers about influenza and vaccination for this age group. In addition, to ensure that older adults in all four quadrants of the city can receive their flu shot, ElderSource is also hosting flu vaccination clinics on October 4 at the James Weldon Johnson YMCA, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministries (BEAM) and the Lane Wiley Senior Center.

Winn-Dixie is contributing 100 flu vaccinations at each Flu + You location that will be administered to older adults by Winn-Dixie pharmacists. As a part of the "Shield Yourself" campaign, Winn-Dixie pharmacies offer three different options of the influenza vaccine including the high dose vaccine recommended for those 65 and older. Winn-Dixie wants to help everyone take the appropriate precautions to help shield themselves from the flu in preparation for the upcoming season.

Older adults should talk to their health care providers about influenza and the vaccine options available to them. For more information on influenza prevention or the October 4 event, please call Andrea Spencer of ElderSource at (904) 391-6692. For more information on the Flu + You campaign or to download educational materials, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.

About ElderSource

Recently designated as an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), ElderSource is a regional nonprofit organization serving as the lead advocate and funder for programs and services to assist seniors enabling them to age with dignity and independence. ElderSource's service area includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Flu + You

NCOA, with the support of Sanofi Pasteur, has developed educational materials designed to reach older adults, caregivers, and health care providers with critical information regarding influenza and immunization options.

For more information on Flu + You, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit: www.NCOA.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging

About Winn-Dixie Pharmacy

From preventive health screenings to medication counseling, immunizations and more, Winn-Dixie pharmacists provide vital wellness services that stretch far beyond filling prescriptions.

Winn-Dixie recently launched a prescription-savings program in all of its pharmacies that offers 30-day prescriptions for $4 and 90-day prescriptions for $10 on more than 400 generic medications including the generic form of Plavix® (clopidogrel) and varied discounts on name-brand and other generic medication. The grocer offers guests a wealth of health benefits and services including daily free blood pressure checks, fast and easy prescription refills and/or transfers, convenient refills through the Ready Refill program, low-cost health screenings such as cholesterol or diabetes, and female and male wellness screenings. For information about the Winn-Dixie pharmacy or to schedule a specific appointment time with a certified Winn-Dixie pharmacist this year, guests can visit www.winndixie.com/pharmacy.

Named a J.D. Power 2011 Customer Service Champion, Winn-Dixie pharmacies employ a central prescription record system that links all of its pharmacies, making customer prescription records available at any location and accessible by computer through ePharmacy; by smartphone with the FREE Winn-Dixie Rx App; or by cell phone via Winn-Dixie Mobile Services.

Media Contacts:

Andrea Spencer
ElderSource (Area Agency on Aging)
(904) 391-6692

Eileen Masciale
National Council on Aging
(631) 665-2163

SOURCE ElderSource (Area Agency on Aging)