Grand Junction, Colo — Flu season is quickly approaching, and with the surge in coronavirus cases, doctors say a flu shot is more important than ever, but stopping some people from getting the vaccine is that walk into an indoor clinic. Fortunately, Mesa County Public Health is offering an outdoor option for flu vaccines, and it’s available for anyone.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment wants you to recognize that adding flu on top of the COVID crisis could overwhelm our clinics, hospitals and doctors. According to CDPHE, there are over 8,000 current hospitalizations in the state because of the coronavirus, and each year more than 3,500 Coloradans will be hospitalized because of the flu. Therefore, to prevent pressure in our hospitals, health experts are urging all Americans to get the flu shot this year.
Across the Grand Valley, you can get a flu vaccine at a number of locations, but because of COVID, some people are hesitant about entering a building. Katie Patrick, a Grand Junction resident, says, “we are never sure when we are walking into a building what that is going to feel like, and if we are going to feel safe.” Therefore, the Patricks are taking advantage of Mesa County Public Health’s drive-thru flu shot clinic.
Allison Sanchez from MCPH says their decision to host an outdoor flu shot clinic was due to the pandemic. She adds, “we really need to be sensitive about COVID and adhere to social distancing and mask wearing.” And families, like the Patricks, appreciate this change. Katie Patrick says, “we just wanted to make sure we were doing it in the safest way possible, and when we heard this was going to be an outdoor event, we got excited.”
All ages are welcomed with special consideration for children. In addition, health insurance covers most costs of the flu shots, but if you are uninsured, MCPH has a vaccine program, so cost does not have to be a barrier preventing you from getting your flu vaccine, which the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get by the end of October.
MCPH will host another drive-thru flu shot clinic on October 24th.