SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The Springfield Department of Health and Human Services is holding their last free seasonal flu clinic on Friday.
The clinic will be held at the Eastfield Mall, Food Mezzanine from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The elderly are the most vulnerable population to the deadly effects of the flu. That’s why the Springfield Health Department scheduled two flu shot clinics at the Eastfield Mall food court this week.
But the number of older residents coming for their flu shot fell short of what the public health nurses had anticipated. There were nowhere near the numbers they saw during the city’s traditional flu shot clinics back in October and November.
“In the older adults, you get the flue, your chances of developing pneumonia is very high,” said Anna Mistivar. “There’s also increasing cardiovascular disease and some have died from just having the flue.”
Mistivar said many older people may have gotten flu shots at one of the various pharmacies in the area. The Springfield Health and Human Services Department doesn’t have hard stats indicating just how many men and women over 65 are protected from the flu.
It is not too late to get your flu shot so if you haven’t, now is your chance. Flu activity can peak between December and February but can last as late as May. The CDC says the flu can be spread person to person up to about six feet away and can be spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC urges everyone to get a flu vaccine. According to the CDC, everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each season and people who are at high risk of serious flu illness should take flu antiviral drugs immediately when they get sick.
If you’re attending the clinic you are asked to wear a short-sleeve shirt and have your insurance or Medicare card with you. You are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Springfield Open Pantry.