NORTHAMPTON. Mass. (WWLP) – October is when the influenza virus typically makes a comeback, but last year, it wasn’t as much of a concern with the health community so focused on COVID-19.
Yet, as covid guidelines become restrictive, health leaders are expecting a breakout in flu cases.
“This year with less restrictions in place and us wanting to gather with friends and family, rejoice a bit, we could be expecting to see a lot more flu cases,” said Vivian Franklin, Public Health Nurse for the Northampton Health Department.
The Northampton Health Department hosted this drive-thru Halloween-themed flu vaccine clinic in the back of Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School, giving families an easy way to get vaccinated. After they filled out a registration form, people rolled down their sleeves and got the shot. The city’s public health nurse explained, why the vaccination you got a year ago, may not work now.
Franklin said, “There are new strains of the influenza virus that aren’t necessarily be susceptible to the vaccine you got a year ago.”
Due to the high volume in traffic last year, the Northampton Health Department added extra lanes to get people moving through faster. It goes to show how important people around here take their health.
“Masks have been proven to be effective so the more we can do to protect ourselves for the community, this is a pretty easy thing to do, said Denise McKahn of Northampton.
Vivian Franklin told 22News you can actually get a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, as the side effects are still mild. You also can’t get the flu from the shot, since the vaccine uses a dead form of the virus. Earlier is always better when it comes to the flu vaccination, especially with the holidays approaching.
The influenza virus is active through May.