By MELINDA WILLIAMS
New River Health District urges citizens, particularly the elderly and those with compromised health, to head out to Randolph Park this Friday, Sept. 21, to receive a free influenza vaccine during a special drive-thru clinic.
The health district will be offering 400 of the seasonal vaccines from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for anyone 18 years old or older. Vaccines are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The vaccines will be administered in the parking lot at the back of the park’s “traffic circle” without the recipient having to leave their vehicle. Those who intend to be vaccinated should wear clothing that is loose enough around the arm to allow a public health nurse to administer a shot in the upper arm.
Randolph Park is at 5100 Alexander Road in Dublin.
Health officials say cases of influenza, or “the flu,” are already showing up in the New River Valley. The vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age, but particularly for those at greatest risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia.
Those at greatest include people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease; pregnant women, and people aged 65 and older. Those who live with, have frequent contact with or care for others with a high risk of developing serious complications also should be vaccinated.
New River Health District Director Dr. Margaret O’Dell said this unique ‘drive-thru’ approach to administering the vaccines has “proven to be a fast and efficient way to vaccinate a large number of folks in a short time.”
It takes up to two weeks to develop the vaccine’s full protection, according to health officials. In addition to being vaccinated, other ways to minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting flu include washing hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds; covering coughs, either by using a disposable tissue or coughing into a sleeve, not a hand, and staying at home when sick.
In the event of rain, the drive-thru clinic will be held Friday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the park.
For more information, call the New River Health District office at 540-381-7100 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.