The emergency teams at Kettering Health Network have always been committed to readiness. That’s why the network is launching a free “drive-thru” flu shot program.
“To be prepared for pandemics and outbreaks, we will be holding a mass ‘drive-thru’ flu immunization exercise at our 10 emergency centers from Oct. 22 to Oct. 27,” said John Weimer, vice president of emergency and trauma services for Kettering Health Network.
Each location, including Middletown and Troy where the network most recently announced plans for emergency departments, will offer free flu vaccines on a first-come, first-served basis, while quantities last.
The Influenza virus is highly contagious and can lead to hospitalization and possibly death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels within homes, schools, and businesses. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through your community.
Dr. Marni Teramana, an emergency physician with Kettering Health Network, shares important things that you need to know as we head into flu season:
What is considered to be the flu season?
“Seasonal flu can be detected year-round,” explained Dr. Teramana. “However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Flu season most commonly peaks in the United States between December and March.”
How early or late can I get the vaccination?
People should get their vaccine before flu begins to spread in their area — keeping in mind that it takes about two weeks after vaccination to be fully protected.
“Plan to be vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins,” said Dr. Teramana. “The CDC recommends that people get their flu vaccine by the end of October.”
What is the difference between the flu mist and flu shot?
“The flu mist nasal vaccine is a live, attenuated vaccine, while the injection is an inactive virus. Actually, the CDC is no longer recommending the flu mist, due to concern over its effectiveness,” explained Dr. Teramana.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
“The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every season,” said Dr. Teramana. However, Kettering Health Network’s free flu shot program is only for adults.
Eligible for free flu shots:
Adults, age 18 and older, with a valid ID. Insurance cards are not necessary. The flu shots are free on a first come, first served basis.
Children – They require a different dosage of the flu vaccine, which we do not have at our drive-thru locations.
Network employees receive free flu shots annually through Employee Health.
People who have a severe allergy to the flu vaccine. Find out if this applies to you by visiting the Centers for Disease Control website for more flu facts.
Can you still get the flu even if you were vaccinated?
“Yes, there is a possibility that you could get the flu, even if you were vaccinated. If the vaccine is closely matched to the strain of virus that is circulating, then the effectiveness will be higher,” said Dr. Teramana. “However, it’s important to remember that, even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications that can be quite serious, even deadly, for some people.”
Say ‘no’ to the flu and drive on thru
“Kettering Health Network’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the people in the communities we serve through health care, education and prevention,” said Weimer. “Our drive-thru flu vaccine program is all about providing the community with quick and easy access to the care they need.”
For more details please visit, www.ketteringhealth.org/flushots.