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Pharmacist Urges Residents to Get Flu Shot Early

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sicken Americans, flu season is also fast approaching. A local pharmacist is encouraging residents to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to help them avoid getting sick.

Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Pharmacist Daniel Jones says the first batch of flu vaccine is set to arrive there this week. He says with COVID-19 still spreading in the community, it's even more important this year to get vaccinated early.

"This year I think it's even more important with possible respiratory issues. Influenza can cause that as well, and just adding on top of that if there is a COVID outbreak. There also could be immunocompromisation, which makes you more prone to receive infections, viruses, anything of that sort." Jones said.

Jones says most people typically get their flu shot sometime in early to mid-October, but this is no typical year, and he says that may drive many to get their shot as early as possible. He said there may also be concerns about a possible shortage of vaccine doses later in the year as more people elect to get their shots  as soon as possible.

Jones notes he has also seen a somewhat concerning downturn lately of people coming out to get vaccinated for other diseases. He attributed this to people being less willing to venture out to get vaccinated. 

"We're finding out, as more people are staying in, we're not getting as many services to the people to maintain health as were were six months ago. So, even the [vaccines] for other preventable diseases are not getting done now because of the pandemic." He said.

In an effort to protect people as much as possible, Jones says Strawberry Hills is planning to offer drive-thru vaccine administration in the pharmacy's parking lot. 

"We are working on how we can do that in our parking lot, to make it easier so people do not have to come in. We're receiving our first doses of flu vaccine this week, and I think you'll see that coming on down through every pharmacy as they're starting to be released into the public." He said.

For those who choose to come inside, Jones lays out requirements that are in place before entering the building.

"Just wear a mask when you come through, and we'll do the same on our side," He said. "Gloves, masks, face shields will be there when we do the injections. We have a room that we clean if you do come inside for that. We also just ask that when you leave here wash your hands, wash you face, just stay as clean as you can and use some form of hand sanitization."

Jones encourages anyone with additional questions to consult the CDC COVID-19 website, which he says has a wealth of information about how to stay healthy during the pandemic.

"There's some vaccination guidelines that have come out during the pandemic from the CDC. If anyone wants to go to, and that's where I go for all of my information, it says "vaccines during the pandemic". It's right there for everyone to access." He said.
Aug. 10, 2020