The Logan County Unit of the Arkansas Department of Health will hold mass flu vaccination clinics in Paris and Booneville this week.
The Paris clinic takes place Thursday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the First National Bank Community Center. The clinic in Booneville takes place Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Booneville.
Mass vaccination clinics have previously been held in area schools.
Paula Beatty, the nurse in charge of ADH units in Paris and Booneville, encourages residents to get vaccinated for the flu.
“We want more people to be vaccinated this year,” she said.
Beatty said last year that 843 people were vaccinated at a clinic held in Paris and 431 were vaccinated at a clinic held in Booneville.
This year’s vaccine is for three different strains of flu and the H1N1 virus.
“It’s based on what is all ready floating around,” she said. “We’re told they are matching pretty well with the strains of flu we’re seeing. We’re seeing sporadic levels of flu in the state but there have been no cases reported in Logan County.
“It’s going to be an early flu season this year,” she said. “That’s what they are predicting.”
Unlike previous clinics, everyone vaccinated will be getting a shot. The nasal mist won’t be used, Beatty said.
“The nasal mist is not being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control,” she said.
Shots will be given at the clinics free of charge, but Beatty added that if you have insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, bring those cards with you.
Here’s some information about seasonal flu and the vaccine from the Arkansas Department of Health:
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Children, the elderly, health care workers and others prone to getting the flu should get their flu vaccine every year. For extra safety, people you live with or spend a lot of time with should also get a flu vaccine. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it. Flu vaccine helps your body fight the flu during the height of the flu season, which is generally December through March. Flu vaccine is available through your local health unit.
Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu. The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth. Flu vaccine will not give you the flu. The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year. The vaccine takes one to two weeks to start working and is 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing the seasonal flu.
Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others. For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, flu vaccine can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your family.