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October 3, 2010

Drive-thru flu shot clinic Tuesday

On Tuesday the Cullman County Health Department will offer a drive-thru flu clinic for all interested individuals. The clinic will take place at the Cullman Agricultural Center located on Highway 31 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., or until vaccines are depleted.

The clinic, according to officials, is an effort to ensure that even the busiest people have the time to get a flu shot.

“We did this clinic two years ago and found that it was a very successful way of administering flu shots to the community,” said Cullman County Health Department Supervisor Crystal Page.

Page said that about 1,500 flu shots were administered at the last drive-thru clinic.

Medicare recipients are advised to take their cards to the clinic to receive their shots at no cost, all others will pay $5 for the vaccine.

The Alabama Department of Public Health recorded 53 influenza-related deaths statewide last year.

According to Page, health officials have a perennial list of recommendations as flu season arrives each year.

“Some of the recommendations for avoiding the flu involve very basic good health techniques,” said Page. “Remember proper hand washing techniques, stay home from work or school if you feel sick, and contact your physician or health care provider if you experience flu like symptoms.”

Health officials recommend that all individuals 6 months of age and older receive flu vaccines. In years past, according to Page, small children and elderly individuals were prioritized for the vaccines but the recent H1N1 scare and evolving flu strains have changed perception. Individuals most susceptible to the flu virus include pregnant women, elderly individuals, children, and people with existing health problems.

“There are certain groups of people that are more likely to get the flu, but we all have contact with those at greater risk during our day  to day lives,” said Page.

According to officials, the vaccine that will be administered this year protects against H1N1, H3, H2, and B-strains of the flu virus.

In light of fears that many individuals have had regarding the H1N1 vaccine that was produced last year Page said, “All of these vaccines are thoroughly researched and manufactured in the same ways, they are very safe and effective against the flu virus.”

Page also said that there were no cases of illness or health problems reported locally in relation to flu vaccines.

“A lot of people think that the flu vaccine is a live virus that could actually give them the flu, but it is not,” Page said. “Side effects are really limited to mild soreness where the vaccine is administered and very small chance of nausea.”

The drive-thru flu clinic will be the Cullman Health Departments sole flu vaccination clinic this year, the medication will be administered until supplies are depleted. Flu vaccines can also be acquired from local pharmacies or an individual’s health care providers.

 

* Sam Rolley can be reached by e-mail at srolley@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 225.

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