MOUNT VERNON — With the start of school and the changing colors of the trees, it means cooler weather is on the way and flu season is right around the corner. The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot and there’s plenty of opportunities to get one this season.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available. With that is mind, the Knox County Health Department is conducting its drive-thru clinic a month earlier this year. The annual event will be held Thursday, Sept. 6 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Knox County Fairgrounds. “This is a new timeframe as well as a new day for the drive-thru clinic,” said Health Commissioner Julie Miller, “but we have the vaccine and did not want to keep the community waiting.”
The process will remain the same, said Miller. “There will be health department staff to help with paperwork and our nurses will give you a flu shot while you stay seated in your car. It’s just that simple.”
The drive-thru clinic is for adults only, age 18 and older. There are no medical restrictions and pre-registration is not necessary. The cost is the same as last year, with each vaccination costing $20. Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans, except for MediGold will be accepted for payment. Medicaid, CareSource, Molina and most private insurance will be accepted for payment. Attendees need to bring their medical card and a photo ID such as a driver’s license, to verify identification.
To access the drive-thru clinic, attendees will enter the fairgrounds using the lower gate, near Wooster Road. The gates will not open until 4:30 p.m. and residents are asked to not show up before then.
“There will be plenty of flu vaccine to offer shots during the entire clinic from 5 to 7:30 p.m.,” said Miller. “If everyone shows up at the very beginning there will be traffic congestion and a longer wait.”
This marks the eighth year for the drive-thru clinic which serves 400 to 700 people and has been held in all types of weather. “Thursday’s forecast look good, but our staff comes prepared to deal with the elements,” said Miller. “Regardless of the weather, attendees are protected because they are in their vehicles. And we give the shots in an enclosed area so they won’t be bothered by the weather at all.”
Attendees are advised to wear a short-sleeved shirt so their arm is easily accessible for the flu shot. Any Knox County resident, regardless of what town they live in, can attend the drive-thru clinic.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza. The influenza season can begin as early as October.
The drive-thru clinic is the first of nine community clinics sponsored by the health department. On Mon. Sept. 10, there will be two flu clinics. The first clinic is from 9 to 11 a.m. at the health department, 11660 Upper Gilchrist Rd. In the afternoon, a clinic will be held in Danville at St. Luke’s Community Center from 2 to 4 p.m.
Only adult vaccine will be available at community clinics since the vaccine for children has not arrived yet. When it does, it will be available at the remaining community clinics. For inquiries regarding the availability of flu vaccine for children, call the health department medical clinic at 399-8009.
Additional community clinics are scheduled for Centerburg, Brinkhaven, Martinsburg, Gambier, Apple Valley and Fredericktown. For information on additional flu clinics, call 399-8014 or check the health department website, knoxhealth.com.
Published on September 1, 2012