Northampton Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Flu shots available at drive-thru events

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Local News

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) will administer free seasonal flu vaccinations for the 20th straight year for adults and children 6 months and older during two community sessions in November. Shots will be all drive-thru 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 4 at Dorney Park and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 5 at Coca-Cola Park.

Over the past 19 years, LVHN’s community influenza vaccination campaign has administered 150,000 free flu shots and collected 100,000 pounds of food for area food banks. Again this year, LVHN is partnering with area food banks and shelters including Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley, Allentown Rescue Mission, Transitional Living Center Program and AIDS Activities Office’s food pantry to accept donations of unexpired, nonperishable food items during each of the drive-thru sessions. Food donations are optional and not required to receive a shot.

LVHN will partner with Allentown Health Bureau to offer online registration again this year. Slots are available for either the morning or afternoon sessions both Saturday and Sunday. Slots are not appointments, so those reserving times may arrive at any time during the reserved time period. A vaccine information statement, consent form, link to online registration and maps of both locations are available at lvhn.org/flushot. A completed and signed 2017-18 consent form for each individual receiving a flu shot must be presented before the vaccine is administered.

According to Terry Burger, RN, LVHN’s director of infection control and prevention, quadrivalent flu vaccine will be given this year to those 6 months to 64 years of age. It will protect against four different flu strains, two influenza Type A strains and two influenza Type B strains. Burger said those 65 and older will be offered the trivalent high-dose vaccine.

“The elderly generally have weaker immune systems, which puts them at greater risk of severe illness from influenza,” Burger said. “Also, aging lowers the body’s ability to fight off the flu even with the vaccine. So a higher dose is supposed to stimulate a more effective immune response for those 65 and older and, therefore, better protection against the flu.”

Burger said vaccine supplies are expected to be plentiful this year, so the public should not be concerned about being able to get a shot.

Those planning to receive a flu shot during LVHN’s November drive-thru vaccination campaign are asked to abide by the following requests:

• Review the vaccine information sheet and complete and bring the 2017-18 consent form for each person to be vaccinated. Forms may be found at lvhn.org/flu- shot or requested by calling 888-402-5846.

• Dress appropriately — loose-fitting clothing, as the shot will be administered in the arm and in the leg of children under 2 years old.