Hundreds of veterans and their family members participated in the VA Medical Center-Fort Harrison’s annual Drive Thru Flu Clinic and Health Fair on Tuesday, October 2.
Now in its eighth year, the clinic is put on by the VA and allows people to get their annual flu shot from the convenience of their own vehicle.
Veterans who spoke with MTN said they look forward to the event each year and greatly appreciate how quickly they receive their flu shot.
The flu shots were free to veterans and VA staff while Lewis and Clark County Public Health provided shots to the general public with assistance from Carroll College and Helena College students.
Organizer and VA nurse Katie Temple stressed the importance of getting vaccinated for influenza.
“It is very important for the young and the old, but also you know that middle-aged group because you can be a carrier of the virus,” said Temple. “You might not get sick, but those elderly and young will get sick from you.”
Temple added anyone who missed the clinic can get their flu shot at the VA or at Lewis and Clark Public Health.
Since the beginning of September, there have been four confirmed cases of influenza in Lewis and Clark County with one individual requiring hospitalization.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and local public health officials encourage all Montanans six months of age and older to get vaccinated now against influenza (flu) in order to decrease their risk of becoming ill.
Officials recommend getting vaccinated by the end of October before influenza starts circulating in a population.
Last flu season, DPHHS recorded over 10,000 cases, 979 hospitalizations, and 79 deaths related to influenza.
Of those hospitalized in the state, around half had not received an influenza vaccine.
For more information about the virus and how to protect yourself, visit here.
-Reported by John Riley