The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Massive flu shot drill coming to Valdez this Tuesday evening

Free inoculations will be given to all takers during annual fall event


October 19, 2017

Source: CDC

Alaska Dept of Health and the Center for Disease Control recommend that everyone over the age of six months receive the flu vaccine to prevent coming down with the flu - but also provide tips to help stop spreading the disease if already infected.

It's October in Valdez, and that means it is time for the annual flu shot drill.

This year's mass inoculation event will occur this Tuesday, October 24.

Flu vaccines will be administered free of charge from 5-8 p.m.

"Free to the entire community and no advance reservations are required," the city's public information officer, Allie Ferko, said in an email submitted to the Valdez Star. "Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian."

Valdez pioneered mass inoculation events in Valdez shortly after the tragic events of 9/11.

Doing a mass inoculation - giving as many people as possible a flu shot at one time in one place - serves several purposes.

Besides the fact that it gives citizens an incentive to get vaccinated - this year's shots are free and paid for by the City of Valdez - it also gives health care workers and emergency responders a chance to practice at emergency vaccination if a true public health crises emerged, such as a super-flu epidemic, or a manmade health crisis such as anthrax exposure.

This year, public health officials with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that all Americans over the age of six months get a flu shot.

"Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza," the CDC says in its recommendations.

The Alaska Dept. of Health has reported several documented cases of influenza already this season - so getting a flu shot now is important.

"You cannot get the flu from a flu shot," CDC says. "The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm or death is extremely small."

As influenza is a viral disease, it cannot be cured with antibiotics; it is easily spread by person to person contact, so in addition to getting a yearly vaccine, hygiene is also important in preventing its spread. So is avoiding social, work and school situations if you are sick.

Yep, the best advice is to stay home if you think you are ill with influenza, especially if you have not had your shot.

Anyone with questions regarding the drill - getting a shot or even volunteer opportunities to help run the event - can contact the public health nurse.


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