Early Flu Vaccination Recommended as Fall Season Begins; Health Department Schedules First Drive-Thru Flu Clinic
BREWSTER, NY—Flu season will soon arrive, and public health experts everywhere are recommending that people get their flu shots this year, and to get them as early as possible. The Putnam County Department of Health has its first clinic set for Monday, September 21, at the health department’s main office at 1 Geneva Road. Like the COVID testing clinics earlier this year, the flu clinic will be a “Drive-Thru” event. For ease of administering the vaccine and overall efficiency, short sleeves and pre-scheduled appointments are required. Time slots begin at 1 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. A rain date is scheduled for the following day.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu means there is one less thing for you to worry about with your own health and the health of your family,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “This year as we continue to deal with COVID cases, our health department is making it more convenient and safer with drive-through service. Getting vaccinated is a proactive step you can take to protect yourself, your family and our great community of Putnam.”
Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health, also highly recommends getting a flu shot, and addresses concerns questioning the vaccine’s effectiveness saying, “Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population. Additionally, serious complications or a lengthy course of illness are less likely if you get immunized with a flu shot. Preserving your health and your immunity has never been more important than it is now as we continue reopening plans with the ongoing pandemic.”
“Registration information is available online,” explained Kathleen Percacciolo, RN, supervising public health nurse. “Short sleeves are being required to make it easier for our nurses to administer the vaccine in a timely manner,” she said. “We fine-tuned the drive-thru format at our COVID-19 testing clinics this past spring.”
The dates and locations for the two additional flu clinics are: Wednesday, October 7, at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9, and another drive-thru clinic on Friday, October 16 at the PCDOH at 1 Geneva Road, with a rain date of Monday, October 19. All clinics will be from 1 to 6:30 p.m.
Early vaccination is always important because a person builds up immunity about two weeks after the shot. Certain people should be sure to get vaccinated. They include pregnant women; children 6 months through 18 years of age; people over 50 years of age; those with chronic, or long-lasting, medical conditions, and those who live with or care for them. Health care workers are also required to get the flu vaccine to protect their patients.
The public flu clinics are open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. Registration information and forms can be found at online on the health department’s immunization page at www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization. Appointments, which are required, can be made by calling the scheduling line and leaving your name and phone number. Your call will be returned promptly, and a time slot will be offered and confirmed. The flu scheduling line is 845-808-1390, extension 43262. A maximum of 300 people will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Carpooling is encouraged and all attendees must remain in their vehicles. Appointment scheduling will close by noon on Saturday, September 19. Immunization consent forms must be downloaded, completed and signed, presented to the public health nurse at the drive-thru clinic.
Proof of residency is required and will be checked. The fee for vaccination is $25 for residents 18 years of age (minimum required) to 64 years of age. Those 65 years and older can receive the vaccine free of charge if they show a Medicare card. Only checks or cash will be accepted. High-dose flu vaccine is being offered for seniors, aged 65 years and older, as studies show this vaccine is more effective for this population. Pneumonia vaccine is not available at the flu clinics.
Additional public flu clinics may be held later this year. Information on future dates will be posted on the health department’s website, on social media, and announced on the department’s flu hotline. The number is 808-1390, press option “2.” For school clinics check the school calendar or with the school nurse for details.
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com, or visit our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PutnamHealthNY.