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Health department sets date for drive-through flu shots clinic
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The Effingham County Health Department will hold a drive-through flu vaccination clinic Nov. 17 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the health department located at 802 Hwy. 119 South in Springfield. Flu shots will be available for $29. High-dose flu vaccine, offered for people 65 and older, will be $50.

The purpose of the event is two-fold: To provide a quick, easy way for residents to get vaccinated against the flu and to test public health emergency preparedness and response procedures.

Effingham County is one of several Coastal Health District counties hosting a drive-through flu vaccination clinic Nov. 17 as part of a statewide exercise being conducted by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Several partner agencies, including Effingham County Emergency Management Agency, also will take part in the event.

“Getting vaccinated is the best protection against the flu and there is no more convenient way to get vaccinated than never having to leave your own vehicle,” said Coastal Health District Health Director, Diane Weems, M.D. “We are also using this clinic as a way to assess public health’s ability to quickly provide medication should it become necessary during a real world event.”

Public health — through local health departments — is responsible for providing vaccine or other medication to the general public in response to large scale public health emergencies and other disasters. If such an event were to take place, the drive-through method of dispensing medication would likely be used.

 “We are always in preparation mode,” said Weems. “It just makes sense to test that preparation during flu season when we can make it easy for people to get vaccinated.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. Getting vaccinated is the first and best line of defense against the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond to the vaccine and provide the body protection.

On average, more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections and it is estimated that more than 36,000 Americans die each year from influenza-related illness.

The flu virus is easily spread through coughs and sneezes and by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. That’s why good health habits are also important including staying home when you’re sick; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; coughing or sneezing into your elbow and not your hand; washing your hands often with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Cash will be accepted at the drive-through clinic. The following insurance will be accepted: Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Coventry. Medicare and Medicaid also will be accepted.

To save even more time, residents are encouraged to download the flu vaccine consent form at gachd.org/effingham and bring the completed form with them to the clinic.

For more information on the flu or flu vaccine, go to cdc.gov/flu.