Editorial: Wednesday's Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic in Dalton is an easy, convenient way to protect yourself and others from the flu

The Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic that was scheduled for the Dalton Convention Center last month was canceled due to unfortunate rainy weather. But it has been rescheduled for Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Blvd.

According to the health department, the shot is no-cost if covered by one of several health plans. If paying out of pocket, the cost is still relatively low at $25 for regular flu vaccine and $65 for high dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older. Both vaccines guard against four different strains of flu.

Cash, checks, Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Coventry, Humana, and United Healthcare Insurance will be accepted. For more information, call (706) 279-7900 or visit www.nghd.org.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends most people 6 months and older get one. Many people forego their annual flu shots for a variety of reasons.

"Despite the many benefits offered by flu vaccination, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine and flu continues to cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths. Many more people could be protected from flu if more people got vaccinated."

These are the benefits of an annual flu shot, according to the CDC:

• Can keep you from getting sick with flu.

• Has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

• Can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.

• Prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2019-2020 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations.

• Is an important preventive tool for people with certain chronic health conditions.

• Has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who have had a cardiac event in the past year.

• Can reduce the risk of a flu-related worsening of chronic lung disease (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requiring hospitalization.

• Helps protect pregnant people during and after pregnancy.

• Can be lifesaving in children.

• Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Wednesday's Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic is a quick, convenient and easy way to get your flu shot. We hope you are able to take advantage of the opportunity.

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