Rappahannock Area Health District Offers Free Flu Shots

Vaccine provided during walk-in hours on Friday, Jan. 23

January 15, 2015

(Fredericksburg, Va.) —The Virginia Department of Health’s Rappahannock Area Health District will offer free flu shots Friday, Jan. 23 beginning at 1 p.m. The flu shot clinic will be held at the Fredericksburg Health Department, 608 Jackson St. in Fredericksburg. A limited supply of vaccine will be available, and will be offered to anyone 18 years of age and older on a first-come, first-served basis, until 3p.m. or the supply of flu shots runs out.

“Annual vaccination is important, and it is not too late to get this year’s flu vaccine. Even if the vaccine is not a ’perfect’ match to all the circulating flu strains, the vaccine can still offer some protection, and may help to prevent complications or severe illness if flu illness does occur,” said Brooke Rossheim, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Rappahannock Area Health District. Flu season in Virginia usually peaks in January or February but often continues through May.

“In addition to providing our residents with an opportunity to receive a flu shot, this is an excellent opportunity for us to test our ability to respond to a public health emergency,” said Jonathan Kiser, district emergency coordinator. “Exercises such as this allow us to assess and enhance plans to provide widespread access to vaccine during public health emergencies.”

Influenza, or “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.

Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of complications from influenza:

  • Pregnant and postpartum women, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Persons 65 years of age and older, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and
  • People with chronic medical conditions including heart, lung, liver and kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, a weak immune system (including individuals with HIV disease) and anemia.

To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:

  • Get a flu shot each year;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your cough by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand; and
  • Stay home when you are sick.

For more information, call the Rappahannock Area Health District at 540-899-4797 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.