OCH Regional Medical Center will provide 50 free flu vaccinations on Saturday, October 20 from 8 – 10 a.m. in the OCH Community Room.
“Now is the time to act on prevention,” said OCH Infection Control Manager Savannah Brown, RN. “An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, and that’s an alarming number of deaths. We urge those who are hesitant to get the flu shot to remember it’s not only about protecting themselves but also about preventing the more vulnerable, such as the very young and elderly patients, from contracting the flu,” continued Brown.
Influenza is most common from December to April, and because the immune system takes time to respond to the vaccine, October through mid-November is the optimal time to get vaccinated.
Brown said although the flu shot will not cause the flu, some people do experience soreness or redness at the injection site and a slight fever or minor muscle aches. A severe egg allergy can be a contraindication for the vaccine, so those with egg allergies should speak to their physicians prior to coming for vaccination. An egg-free version of the vaccine is available for those 18 years of age and older, and OCH will have a few of those available for people who require them. People with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome should not receive the vaccine.
“It is important to note that a person can still obtain a different strain of the flu than what the vaccine contains. The vaccine mainly protects against the most common strains predicted for the year, but even if the shot does not specifically prevent the strain of the flu we see this year, it can still provide some protection and decrease symptoms and severity of any flu contracted,” explained Brown.
Vaccines will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be a small supply of high-dose vaccines for the public as well, for those who come early. The high-dose vaccine is recommended for those 65 years of age and older. For more information, call the OCH Infection Control Department at 662-615-2820.