New River Health District offers free seasonal flu vaccine at drive-thru clinic
The New River Health District (NRHD) will offer free seasonal flu vaccine at a special drive-thru dispensing clinic on Tuesday, October 4 from 12-7 p.m. at the NRV Fairgrounds, 5581 Fair Grounds Circle in Dublin.
The free vaccine will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to those 8 years old and above. The vaccine will be given as individuals remain seated in their vehicles. Since the flu shot is given in the upper arm, it is important for those attending the clinic to wear clothing that either has loose-fitting sleeves or is sleeveless.
Influenza, commonly called “flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications, said Noelle Bissell, M.D., director, New River Health District. This unique ‘drive-thru’ approach is proven to be fast, efficient and a more comfortable way for those seeking a vaccination. It is especially important to get a shot this year because COVID-19 is still circulating and getting infected with both flu and COVID-19 can increase the severity of illness.”
Each year in the U.S. approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness. Deaths attributed to flu range from 12,000 to 56,000 annually with an average of 34,000 per year over the last three decades.
It is important for those at higher risk for influenza complications to be vaccinated each year. These higher risk groups include:
- Pregnant and postpartum women, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- Persons over 65 years of age, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
- People who have chronic lung or heart problems, including asthma; and
- People who have other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, anemia, cancer, weak immune systems (including those with HIV) or a seizure disorder.
While it takes up to two weeks to develop the vaccine’s full protection, everyone can minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting the flu at all times by following these simple steps:
- Get vaccinated
- Consider wearing a mask if one is high risk or if one is having symptoms
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth when you cough, either by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand
- Stay at home when you are sick
For more information, call the New River Health District at 540-585-3300 or visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/flu/.