Free flu shot clinic draws in big crowd

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A free flu vaccine clinic in Hanover County drew in a big crowd today. Virginia has only seen a few seasonal flu cases so far, but the State Health Department says vaccines are the way to keep that number low.

Flu cases are measured on a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being very little activity, which is what we are seeing right now, all the way to 4, widespread activity. That's where we were this time last year.

The Varner family was among the first in line to get free flu vaccines. They have a big Halloween planned with Jordan and Danielle dressing up as a fairy and kitty cat. They don't want to get sick this weekend or any other one.

"She came down with H1N1 and was really sick, so any preventative thing that we can do to help that not happen again will be really nice, and they are actually getting the flu mist today, so they are excited they aren't getting a shot," said D'Lynn Varner.

D'Lynn says the fact that the vaccines are free is also a big help.  It's families like the Varners that health departments are targeting.

"With these economic times it saves us quite a bit of money them having this free clinic for everybody," said Varner.

Marcus Allen with the Hanover Health Department says, "we really wanted to do something to give to the public to protect their health but also to help them out economically; we know a lot of people are having a hard time."

So far, this flu season is much different than the flu pandemic we saw last year, when flu was widespread. This year, the vaccine seems to be doing its job, and with the numbers down, now is the time to act.

"This is a good time to get vaccinated. We are seeing sporadic activity as of now, but the flu season is unpredictable and the thing that the health department encourages is for people to be vaccinated," Allen said.

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