Southeastern PA

Montgomery County issues flu shots for residents

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Montgomery County's efforts to save lives from the flu were highlighted during the commissioners' meeting on Thursday.

Michael Santillo, of King of Prussia, spoke to the commissioners about the importance of getting the flu shot. Santillo's daughter, Melissa, died from the flu on Christmas Day 2010. Melissa was 32, never believed in the flu shot, and also had a medical background, Santillo said.

"If she had gotten the flu shot, she would still be here," said Santillo, who has since concentrated on getting the word out about the importance of taking preventative steps during flu season.

A 2-year old and 24-year old were also killed from the flu during the same season Melissa died. During flu season, Santillo wears a photo of his daughter's face as a reminder that the flu can still cause deaths.

"I'm always amazed when residents come here and turn a tragedy into something positive," thanked Commissioner Leslie Richards.

The flu clinics have been successful, seeing increases from how many received the shot the previous year. The county issued more than 1,200 flu shots at the Montgomery County Community College clinic and saw a significant increase in attendance of 33 percent in Santillo's township of Upper Merion alone.

"We do everything we can to get the word out about our flu clinics," said Joshua D. Shapiro, chairman of the commissioners.

The influenza vaccine is recommended for anyone ages 6 months or older. Medicare participants should bring their Medicare card. Flu shots are provided by the county and are free of charge to residents.

The next Montgomery County flu clinics are offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at Abington Junior High School, 2056 Susquehanna Rd., Abington and Oct. 26 at Sunnybrook Ballroom, 50 Sunnybrook Rd., Pottstown.

The commissioners stressed the importance of getting the flu vaccine.

"If you haven't gotten one, please get one," encouraged Shapiro.

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