Stony Brook Southampton Hospital will hold its annual free flu shot clinic for adults 18 years or older October 15 from 9 AM to 8 PM in Parrish Memorial Hall, located on the corner of Herrick Road and Lewis Street in Southampton. Vaccines are subject to availability, and valid ID is required. No appointments are necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said during 2016-17 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations. In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 to 60 percent. The 2017-18 flu season though saw the highest rate of flu-like illness since the 2009 pandemic. Hospitalization rates across all age groups were the highest ever recorded in the New York State Department of Health recording system.
“A 2018 study shows that risk of hospitalization with the flu reduced 37 percent thanks to the vaccine, and risk of Intensive Care Unit admission with the flu reduced 82 percent,” said Deborah Maile, RN, director of infection prevention. “Flu vaccination is the best way to protect against the flu and flu-related complications.”
According to the CDC, “flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year,” and “vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.”
“Some people are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications,” the CDC says. “Flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.”
As of August 25, a total of 180 pediatric deaths nationwide have been reported from the 2017-18 season, the second-highest rate since reporting began in 2004. Both the NYSDOH and CDC recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible for the upcoming season, preferably before the end of October.