Southside Health District Offers Free Flu Vaccine

October 15, 2018

For More Information Contact

  • Scott Spillmann, MD, MPH, Director, Southside Health District, 434-766-9828
  • Julia Gwaltney, RN, Nurse Manager for Southside Health District, 434-476-4863

(DANVILLE, Virginia) – The Southside Health District will offer free seasonal flu vaccine at a special dispensing clinic Saturday, October 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Mary Bethune Complex, 1030 Cowford Road, Halifax, VA.

Only 300 doses of flu vaccine will be available, and will be offered to anyone that is NOT legally required to be in either a car seat or booster seat, on a first-come, first-served basis. We ask the public to follow the signs from Green Street into the complex.

“We’ve already documented cases of influenza this season in the area, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health recommend vaccination each year for everyone 6 months and older,” said Scott Spillmann, MD, MPH, director, Southside Health District. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications, and this unique ‘drive-thru’ approach is proven to be a fast and efficient way to vaccinate a large number of people in a short time.”

“The timing and duration of flu seasons vary – they can occur from early fall to late spring – so you should get the vaccine as soon as it’s available,” said Julia Gwaltney, RN, nurse manager for the Southside Health District. “It takes up to two weeks to develop the vaccine’s full protection, and the benefits last for up to a year.”

All persons aged six months or older should be vaccinated against influenza each year. Particular effort should be made to vaccinate people at higher risk for influenza complications, including:

  • Pregnant and postpartum women, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Persons over 65 years of age, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
  • People who have chronic lung or heart problems, including asthma; and
  • People who have other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, anemia, cancer, weak immune systems (including those with HIV) or a seizure disorder.

To help prevent the spread of influenza to people in high risk groups, those who live with people in a high risk group and healthcare workers should also receive an annual influenza vaccine. Travelers to countries outside of the U.S. may also need to consider influenza vaccination, even at different times of the year.

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious and generally spreads from person-to- person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can be transmitted even before flu- like symptoms appear. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.

Each year in the U.S. approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness, and flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000 each year, averaging 24,000 per year over the last three decades. The CDC reported that last season there were approximately 80,000 flu related deaths in the United States.

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

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

For more information, call the Southside Health District at 434-476-4863 or visit