LVHN to hold free flu shots
Free drive-thru flu shots available Nov. 7, 8
Lehigh Valley Health Network will administer free seasonal flu vaccinations for the 23rd straight year for adults and children 6 months and older during two community sessions in November.
Shots will be all drive-thru at Dorney Park Nov. 7 and at Coca-Cola Park Nov. 8.
Both events will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at each venue.
For the past 22 years, LVHN’s community influenza vaccination campaign has administered nearly 180,000 free flu shots and collected more than 140,000 pounds of food for area food banks.
“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year because it can reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death,” Alex Benjamin, MD, LVHN’s chief infection control officer said.
“Getting a flu vaccine can also reduce the burden on the healthcare system responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.”
Benjamin said routine vaccination should be deferred for people with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, regardless of symptoms, until they have met criteria to discontinue isolation. While having a mild illness is not a contraindication to vaccination, visits for these individuals should be postponed to avoid exposing health care personnel and other patients.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, adults and children age two and older in the vehicle will be required to wear a face covering.
Again, this year LVHN is partnering with area food banks and shelters to accept donations of unexpired, non-perishable food items during each of the drive-thru sessions.
Food donations are optional and not required to receive a shot. Those who choose to donate food are urged to check the expiration date and only bring items that have not expired and are non-perishable.
Volunteers also will collect other items to assist those in need. Suggested donations include diapers, personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes, coffee pods and wipes.
LVHN is partnering with the Allentown Health Bureau to offer online registration again this year. Slots are available for either the morning or afternoon sessions both days. Slots are not appointments so those reserving times may arrive at any time during the reserved time period.
A vaccine information statement, consent form, link to online registration and maps of both locations are available at lvhn.org/flushot. Participants are asked to bring a completed and signed 2020-2021 consent form for each individual receiving a flu shot.
According to Terry Burger, RN, LVHN’s administrator for infection control and prevention, a standard dose of flu vaccine will be given to those 6 months to 64 years of age. Burger said those 65 and older will be offered the senior vaccine.
“Anyone can get the flu,” Burger said. “Last year as many as 56 million people were sick with the flu and as many as 62,000 deaths were attributed to the disease, including 188 pediatric flu deaths matching the highest recorded number for pediatric flu deaths reported during a regular flu season.
“Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match the influenza viruses in a given year, it might still provide some protection. Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu.”
Burger said vaccine supplies are available so the public should not be concerned about being able to get a shot.
Those planning to receive a flu shot during LVHN’s November drive-thru vaccination campaign are asked to:
•Review the vaccine information sheet and complete and bring the 2020-2021 consent form for each person to be vaccinated. Forms may be found at lvhn.org/flushot or requested by calling 888-402-LVHN (5846).
•Dress appropriately. Participants should wear loose-fitting clothing for the shot to be administered in the arm and the leg of children under 2 years old.