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There has been much talk and controversy about the H1N1 flu and vaccine.

According to the Mass. Department of Public Health, the H1N1 is a new virus that has spread to many parts of the world. It is not the same as the seasonal flu, but causes symptoms that are similar to the seasonal flu and spreads like it.

Council On Aging

The H1N1 vaccine is prepared exactly the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. There is no difference as to how it is made. The Mass. Department of Public Health also states that elders are especially at risk for seasonal influenza and pneumonia, which are among the leading causes of death for older Americans.

The public health department further emphasizes the importance of seniors getting their seasonal flu shots. However, the risk of becoming infected by H1N1 is much lower for senior citizens than for people in other age groups. Less than two percent of confirmed cases of H1N1 have been among people 65 or older in Massachusetts. As more H1N1 vaccine is produced, it will be available to the general population, including seniors. For updated information, visit www.Mass.gov/flu.

* On Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m., a representative from the U.S. Census Bureau will be here to speak on the 2010 census. Discussion will focus on the importance of census data and how it affects your voice in Congress.

* A presentation on the changes in 2010 for Fallon Senior plans will be held on Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. Also on Nov. 19, the MVNP will be offering a special “pasta bar,” with a choice of sauces and make your own ice cream sundae.

* Our veterans breakfast will be held on Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.

Quick Trips are Nov. 6 to Wal-Mart; Nov. 13 to the new Target on Plain Street, Lowell; lunch at Sterios and a Mystery Trip on Nov. 20.

* The fuel-assistance program starts this month. This program can help pay for part of your home’s winter heating bill. For information, call the COA office at 978-957-2611.

* The movie of the month, The Proposal, will be shown on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at noon.

Coffee with the director will be held on Nov. 12.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyce Shadan is the executive director of the Dracut Council on Aging.