Editorial: Area Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics are fast, easy ways to protect your health

On the facing page (5A), you can read an editorial from our sister newspaper, the Valdosta Daily Times, on the reasons why you should get a flu shot this fall. With that opinion firmly established, there's a quick, safe and easy way to do just that.

Later this month, local health departments in Whitfield and Murray counties will host Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics. These vaccinations are quick, convenient and not hard on your wallet. You don't even have to get out of your vehicle as these are drive-thru clinics for people 18 and over.

The area Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics are:

• Whitfield County: Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dalton Convention Center (2211 Dug Gap Battle Road). Call (706) 279-9600 for more details.

• Murray County: Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Murray County Parks and Recreation Department (651 Hyden Tyler Road). Call (706) 695-4585 for more details.

These clinics serve a dual purpose -- they also test the abilities of the health departments to administer medications to the public quickly as would be needed during a widespread public health crisis, for example, pandemic influenza.

People over age 50, pregnant women, children under 5 and anyone with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are at highest risk from flu complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still prevalent across much of the country, medical experts are urging people to get their flu shots before flu season arrives. The more people who are vaccinated, the less strain there will be on emergency rooms, hospitals and medical practices.

According to the North Georgia Health District: "The four-in-one, or quadrivalent, flu vaccine offered at the clinics will be the regular flu vaccine as well as a high-dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older. Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects people against four different strains of flu, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The high-dose flu vaccine contains four times the amount of protective antigen for immune systems that tend to weaken with age.

"The flu vaccine is no-cost for anyone under one of several acceptable health insurance plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare and others. For those paying out-of-pocket, the cost is still relatively low at $25 for the regular flu vaccine and $65 for the high-dose vaccine. Cash will be accepted along with other forms of payment, depending on the county."

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