While much of America’s attention may be currently focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, that is not the only illness for which residents need to take precautions. The country is now in the midst of flu season and, as many health experts agree, getting a flu shot is just as important this year, if not more so, than it has been in the past.
To help ensure that everyone in the Pahrump community is able to get their flu vaccine safely and easily, Immunize Nevada has partnered with two local entities, the NyE Communities Coalition and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, better known as RSVP, as well as Albertsons, to host a drive-thru flu shot clinic this Monday.
“At Immunize Nevada, our mission is to ensure people across Nevada can access vaccines, health care and other resources,” Community Health Worker Bren McClean stated. “We are in a unique situation right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. We know it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot so we have adapted our flu clinic model to follow local, state and federal guidelines. A few examples of the ways we do this are by offering an appointment system and conducting drive-thru clinics. We sanitize all surfaces and follow all social distancing guidelines.”
McClean noted that an annual flu shot is recommended for all persons ages 6 months and older, as research has shown that those who receive a flu shot are less likely to contract the flu, be hospitalized because of the flu or even die from the flu.
“The flu does not discriminate, it can affect anyone at any age,” McClean emphasized.
However, certain people are at a higher risk of experiencing complications due to the flu, McClean added, including those 65 years and older, people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, children and even some ethnic minority groups.
Getting a flu shot this year can also play a role in the COVID-19 pandemic in a couple of different ways.
First and foremost, McClean said research has demonstrated that having the flu can make a person more susceptible to other infections, such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In addition to this, the more people who receive a flu shot, the less who will become sick from the flu. This in turn means a reduced need for people to go to a doctor’s office, urgent care or the hospital.
“This frees up resources to care for COVID-19 patients,” McClean said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the 2018-2019 flu season alone, flu vaccinations helped prevent an estimated 4.4 million influenza cases, as well as 2.3 million flu-related medical visits, 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 3,500 flu-associated deaths.
One other factor to keep in mind for those who are hoping to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at some point in the future is that the COVID-19 vaccine can only be taken by itself. “It is important to get your flu vaccine now because you are unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine in combination with any other vaccine,” McClean informed.
The drive-thru flu shot clinic is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NyE Communities Coalition, 1020 E. Wilson Road. All vaccines will be administered free of charge. Minors must be accompanied by an adult with proof of guardianship and masks must be worn at all times.
For more information visit www.immunizenevada.org or call 775-624-7117.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org