A message from the Clinic: Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever

A message from the Clinic: Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever

BY MARK DRISCOLL- Before coming back to the island this year, please get a flu shot. If you are working on the island, please get a flu shot. It does not matter where you get your flu shot, but making it a priority to get one matters a great deal.  

Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this year will help to reduce your risk from the flu. Please keep in mind that it is possible to contract both the Coronavirus and the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. That means healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. Getting a flu shot can help save precious healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19. And that’s why getting a flu shot is vital.

The Boca Grande Health Clinic will be operating drive-through flu shot clinics for our registered patients as well as the employees of island businesses who have signed the Boca Grande Pledge. The flu shots will be given under the Clinic Annex carport. Please call the Clinic Annex at 964-0490 to register for a flu shot time slot.   

Drive-through flu shot clinics will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on the following days: October 1, October 8, October 14 and 15, October 21 and 22, October 28 and 29, November 4 and 5, November 11 and 12, and November 18 and 19.

Additional flu clinic hours will be added if needed. Since it takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccine for your body to build up the antibodies to fight the flu, it’s never too soon to plan your flu shot. 

While some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, the most important ways to prevent either are the same:  wash your hands often with soap and water, wear face coverings when out in public spaces, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you become sick.

This COVID-19 risk stratifying table might help if you are planning or planning on attending any event or party. It is by no means all-inclusive and as in real life, many factors will fall into gray zones. Use it as a guide to determine how many of your “exposure points” you will be spending and if you are comfortable with the risk. 

Questions to ask yourself are: Will everyone be asked to wear a face covering? Will distancing reminders be clearly marked? Will masks and sanitizer be readily available?

Will attendance be limited? Will anyone from outside the area be attending?

Will I be comfortable with my risk in this situation? Politely decline the invitation if you are ill, have been exposed to someone ill or have recently traveled (long flight, returned from a “hot spot”, international travel or multi-state travel). 

See Dr. Lauren Hana’s column in last week’s Boca Beacon (September 4) for more on this topic.