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Flu season approaching, no mass clinic will be held, focus on Sept. 21-25 for flu shots

By Staff, 09/2/20 10:17 AM

PRESCOTT – There will be no mass flu clinics this year because of the COVID-19 virus.

Debbie Henderson, R.N. and administrator of the Nevada County Health Unit, said this year the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is, instead, stressing people go by their local health units (LHUs) during the week of Sept. 21-25 to get their annual flu vaccination. Henderson said the LHUs will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day and people can drop by and get immunized from the flu. She said it is likely nurses will come out to people’s vehicles and administer the vaccine.

There will be no out-of-pocket expense, but those with insurance will need to bring their insurance cards. Henderson said the forms will be the same as last year and the vaccine will likely be a quadravailant again this year which will protect against four strains of the flu virus.

She pointed out the NCHU doesn’t have any flu vaccine on hand at this time, so there’s no point in anyone coming to get a flu shot yet.

Henderson also said the Prescott School District has asked the NCHU not hold a school flu clinic this year so parents will need to take their children to the LHU for a flu shot. However, a school flu clinic will be held at the Nevada School District on Oct. 6, but, she added, it’s not known if a mini-mass clinic will be held for residents in the afternoon. She pointed out the school clinic will be operating with a limited staff as well.

According to Henderson, is requiring all local health units to focus on giving flu shots the week of Sept. 21-25.

The coming of flu season brought up the question of what someone could expect if they were infected by both the flu and COVID-19. Dr. Mike Young, the Nevada County Health Officer, said what would happen isn’t known, but it will happen.

He said the problem will be differentiating the two viruses as they share the same symptoms. Dr. Young pointed out there is a flu test available, but COVID-19 tests are rare. He recommends everyone get a flu shot this year, something he’s recommended the last 45 years. “It’s still the best protection against the flu.”

Dr. Young pointed out the Southern Hemisphere has already gone through its flu season, and, possibly because people were wearing masks and observing social distancing, cases were down. He suggests people continue to follow the simple rules of wearing masks in public, maintaining social distancing, regularly washing hands, avoid touching the face and getting a flu shot as soon as possible. For those 65 and older, he also recommends they get a pneumonia shot.