The Hamilton County Health Department will begin offering free flu vaccines for a limited time starting next week, according to a news release from the department.
The department is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this year and to get it early in preparation for a more challenging flu season due to the added risk of COVID-19.
Those 18 years and older can use a drive-through flu vaccine clinic from 1:30-5 p.m. on Oct. 12-14 at the Alstom Plant located at 1125 Riverfront Pkwy. This is the same location as COVID-19 testing is taking place, but the flu vaccine clinic will be held at different hours. Free COVID-19 testing will continue to be offered at the site 7 days a week, from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m, the release states.
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The vaccine will be free while supplies last and no appointment is needed. More flu vaccine clinics will open as more supplies become available.
“The flu vaccine is especially important right now,” Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes said in the release. “The same tools we’ve been using to prevent the spread of COVID-19—wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand washing—will also help prevent the spread of the influenza virus.”
When arriving at the clinic, people will be asked to wear a face mask while in their vehicle before receiving the vaccine.
Free flu vaccines are also offered for children 6 months to 17 years old by appointment only at Sequoyah Health Center located at 9527 W Ridge Trail Rd. in Soddy-Daisy and at the Pediatric Clinic located at 921 E. 3rd St. in Chattanooga. Vaccines are also currently available through doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies.
The vaccine is recommended for all people 6 months and older who do not have contraindications. Those at highest risk for serious complications from the flu include children under 5 years, adults 65 years and over, pregnant women, and those with preexisting medical conditions or a compromised immune system, according to the release.
For more information about the flu and COVID-19, people can call the department’s hotline at 423-209-8383 or visit the testing calendar at http://health.hamiltontn.org/AllServices/Coronavirus(COVID-19)/HealthDepartmentAffiliatedFREETestingSitesinHamiltonCounty.aspx.
Compiled by Kim Sebring