The Calvert County Health Department recently announced that it is offering free flu shots at clinics through October and November.
The clinics are available beginning Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Northern High School.
Subsequent dates and locations are: Oct. 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick; Oct. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Patuxent High School; Nov. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Huntingtown High School; and Nov. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Patuxent High School.
The health department encourages everyone from six months to 106 years to get a flu shot.
The flu vaccine will be by injection only; nasal sprays will not be available, according to calverthealth.org. A high-dose flu vaccine is available for those 65 and older.
In the past decade, between 12,000 and 61,000 Americans died annually from influenza and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized each year, a press release states.
Although typical flu vaccines are only 50% to 60% protective, not getting a vaccine is not protective at all, Dr. Larry Polsky said in the release.
“For the [40% to 50%] of people who may still become infected despite vaccination, their illness is typically much milder and they are less contagious to others as a result of partial protection from the vaccine,” he said. “For business owners and managers, this also means fewer employees become ill and miss significant time from their jobs.”
According to the website, getting a flu shot is particularly important this year because people can be simultaneously infected by influenza and COVID-19. For those who are co-infected, their immune system can become overwhelmed, resulting in much higher rates of complications.
The health department is “very concerned about our hospital being saturated by influenza and/or COVID patients, leading to shortages of beds and cancellations of non-emergency surgeries,” the website states.