On Monday, Fayette County Public Health held a drive-thru clinic to provide flu and COVID-19 vaccines to those wishing to get either shot.
The clinic was held at the Fayette County Fairgrounds utilizing buildings and tents to provide shelter during the clinic. It ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, although it wasn’t as busy as the previously held drive-thru clinic, there were community members who took advantage of the easy access to the vaccines.
Fayette County Public Health staffed the clinic and received assistance from local volunteers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.”
Those at higher risk for complications from having the flu include: adults aged 65 and over, adults with chronic conditions, those who are pregnant, people with disabilities, those with HIV/AIDS, those with cancer, racial and ethnic minority groups, children with neurological conditions, and children under the age of 5 — especially those younger than 2-years-old, with those under 6-months-old having the highest risk of hospitalization.
To help protect against the flu, the CDC recommends three actions:
—Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season, especially those at higher risk. This is considered the first and most important step in protecting against the flu, and the ideal time to receive the vaccine is by the end of October.
—Stop the spread of germs with everyday actions such as proper hand washing, avoiding those with illness, limiting contact with others if ill, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching the face, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of objects that may be contaminated. The CDC website explains the CDC recommends people stay home at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (without aid of fever-reducing medication) except for medical care or other necessities.
—Seeking treatment as there are prescription medications called “flu antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. The website explains that studies have shown these drugs work best if taken within two days of becoming ill.
“Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating influenza viruses.
“Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are ‘quadrivalent’ vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses; an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses,” the website explains.
As for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, in a CDC press release dated Friday, Sept. 24, it was explained that “CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and also recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings.”
According to the press release, those recommended to get a booster include:
—People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series
—People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series
—People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks
—People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
Booster doses of Pfizer/Comirnaty for eligible individuals are available at the FCPH drive-thru clinics. The booster must be administered six months past the second dose of Pfizer/Comirnaty.
Those who want to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines or have specific questions regarding their health, options, concerns, etc. should speak to their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, or visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.
Follow the Record-Herald for information regarding future clinic or local vaccine opportunities.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.