Health Department Launches Community Flu Vaccine Clinics

Free shots will be available at each county health unit in Arkansas.

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In preparation for the flu season, the Arkansas Department of Health will provide flu shots across the state beginning today. Each county health unit in Arkansas will host a community flu vaccine clinic, a day-long event when the health unit and community volunteers come together to provide flu vaccines to as many people as possible, according to a press release.

The shot is available for free, but people should bring their insurance cards with them to the clinic. If anyone does not have insurance, or their insurance does not cover the flu vaccine, the vaccine will still be available at no charge.

“The flu should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Chief Medical Officer. “We are encouraging everyone to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves and their families because it is hard to predict in advance how severe the flu season is going to be. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to keep yourself healthy and out of the hospital.” 

Annual flu vaccination is recommended for most adults and children six months and older. The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year’s vaccine protects against flu viruses expected to cause the most illness this season. 

People of all ages can get the flu, but certain people are more likely to have serious health problems if they contract the virus. This includes older adults, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), people who smoke and people who live in nursing homes. Therefore, ADH strongly recommends people in these groups get a flu vaccine. 

It is also recommended that friends, family members and individuals who provide care to people in these groups also get a vaccine — not only to protect themselves, but also to decrease the possibility that they might expose the people they love and care for to the flu.

The flu vaccine is safe and does not cause the flu. Some people may have mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and a low fever or slight headache, according to health officials. There are very few medical reasons to skip the flu vaccine. These include life-threatening allergic reactions to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine. 

The flu is easily spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching something, such as a doorknob with the virus on it, and then touching your nose or mouth. Good hand washing habits are important in preventing the flu; however, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.

Mass clinics are scheduled for today in Desha, Fulton, Hot Spring, Johnson, Logan, Poinsett, St. Francis and Washington counties. More are scheduled throughout the week around the state. More information about a mass clinic in your community is available here.

For more information about the flu, visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website