North Georgians Rolled In for Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics

October 29, 2015

Getting a flu shot was never easier than at the Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics held this fall in North Georgia. More than 1,573 residents of Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties rolled in, rolled up a sleeve and armed themselves against the flu.

The annual Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics began this year in Jasper on Sept. 22 and ended in Ellijay on Oct. 15.

At the clinics, county health department staff offered the quadrivalent flu shot that protects against four strains of flu as well as Fluzone High Dose, which provides added protection for people ages 65 and older.

Additionally, the clinics served as an opportunity for the county health departments and partnering agencies to test local plans for rapidly administering medication during a public health crisis. Participating community partners included local law enforcement, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), businesses and first responders such as the county Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Departments.

“Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, health director for North Georgia Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). “This year’s Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics provided convenient opportunities to get immunized against influenza and we are happy that more than 1,500 residents came for a vaccination. However, anyone who has not yet been immunized should contact their local health department or private health care provider to arrange for a flu shot right away.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this time of year is when flu viruses begin circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population, so a well-timed seasonal flu vaccination each year is the best way to reduce the chances of getting seasonal flu and spreading it to others.

When more people are vaccinated in a community, less flu spreads throughout that local population.

CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions to avoid the spread of flu:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • If sick with flu-like symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny nose, fatigue or vomiting or diarrhea – stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the aid of medication.
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, if available. If not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth – germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

For more information about influenza, its prevention and treatment, log onto the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu.

To contact a county health department in the North Georgia Health District for a flu shot or to find the nearest health department location, log onto www.nghd.org and click on the Location tab.

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County health departments in North Georgia Health District 1-2, based in Dalton, have successfully conducted drive-by flu shot clinics each fall since 2007.