WINNEMUCCA—This may be the most important year yet to get a flu vaccine.

That’s according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who say it’s highly likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this fall and winter. 

While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, the flu vaccine is known to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Plus it will help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources.

The annual Drive-Thru Flu POD has been scheduled for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the indoor Winnemucca Event Center, located at 1000 Fairgrounds Road.

In all, approximately 800 vaccines will be given to local residents at no cost. All participants will remain in their vehicles; no appointment is necessary.

The vaccinations are provided by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health; Humboldt County Community Health Nurse Marsha Foreman, RN, will oversee the distribution.

Foreman said all participants must wear a mask and bring their own pen, to limit transmission of COVID-19. All persons age 6 months and older are recommended for the vaccine, especially children, people age 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system.

Flu is a serious illness. On average, 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to complications from the illness; between 3,000 and 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S. 

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has resulted in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and, as of early September, 191,000 deaths from COVID-related complications. 

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, the CDC said it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, said Foreman, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever.

“The best precautions you can take include getting a flu shot, wearing a mask, maintaining a proper social distance, being conscientious about hand washing, and if you are ill, limiting your contact with others as much as possible,” said Foreman. 

Persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, should not get a flu vaccine until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation; this will help prevent any potential exposure to healthcare personnel and other participants to COVID-19. 

Foreman also reminded residents that a prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. “The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year,” she said.

For questions, please call the Community Health Clinic at 775-623-6575 or message @humboldtcountynv on Facebook. Se habla español.