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VA hosting drive-thru flu shot clinic in Great Falls for veterans

VA hosting drive-thru flu shot clinic in Great Falls for veterans
Posted at 2:01 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 16:01:29-04

The Montana VA Health Care System (MTVAHCS) is providing free flu shots at its Great Falls VA clinic for military veterans who are enrolled in VA healthcare.

On Wednesday, October 7th, veterans can receive a flu shot at a drive-thru clinic from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Great Falls VA clinic (1400 29th Street South, Suite 1).

To receive a flu shot, all veterans will remain in their vehicle and staff will come to them. Veterans can also receive walk-in flu shots at the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. or during a scheduled MTVAHCS appointment.

The VA says that influenza can cause severe illness and is a vaccine-preventable disease. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated there were more than 410,000 flu hospitalizations and more than 24,000 deaths in the United States during the flu season. Each Veteran who gets a flu shot sets themself up to be as healthy as possible. Plus, the healthy habits that 2020 has normalized—covering your cough, washing your hands often, and staying home when you are sick—will continue to protect us all as we enter flu season.

“In minimizing our risk of influenza, we make a decision that is the most responsible and proactive for ourselves and our community. The flu shot protects ourselves, our loved ones, the healthcare professionals who care for us, and our most vulnerable populations,” said MTVAHCS Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman in a news release.

The flu will have the most negative impacts on high risk groups such as adults who are 65 years or older, pregnant women, people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, individuals with medical conditions (such as heart disease, asthma, and kidney or liver disorders), and people weakened immune symptoms.

“People that receive the influenza vaccine have a reduced risk of being infected with influenza and becoming very ill as a result of infection. Reducing influenza-related illness and complications will help preserve resources for COVID-19 response. This makes getting vaccinated even more important this influenza season,” explained MTVAHCS Infection Preventionist, Christie Wilson.

Montana’s veterans have several options to get their flu shot this year. First, veterans with scheduled MTVAHCS appointments will be offered flu shots at the time of their appointment. Second, MTVAHCS clinics across the state are conducting drive-thru or walk-in flu clinics. Finally, veterans can find community locations to get no-cost flu shots at flu shot locations across Montana.

For more information contact VA Public Affairs Officer Katie Beall at Catherine.beall@va.gov or 406-447-7303.