SEARHC schedules flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics

The SEARHC Wrangell Medical Center wants to help the community prepare for the respiratory illness season and will offer flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics this fall and also provide RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine shots as soon as they become available.

Flu shots, including a supply of high-dose vaccines for people 65 and older, will be provided at the annual community flu clinic Saturday, Nov. 4, reported Randi Yancey, medical office coordinator at the

SEARHC facility.

The clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Patients can call 907-874-7000 to schedule an appointment,” Yancey said last week. “Those unable to attend the event can call to schedule a visit at the clinic on a day that works for them.”

SEARHC has scheduled a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. “Both the updated Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available for those 12 years and older,” Yancey said. People can call 907-874-7000 to schedule an appointment.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month approved the newest COVID-19 vaccines, which are formulated to better protect against the latest variants of the virus in circulation.

“The virus is always changing, and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time,” according to the CDC. “Receiving an updated vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States.”

The CDC recommends the updated vaccine for everyone 6 months old and above “to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of illness this fall and winter.”

The nation’s disease prevention office makes the same point about the flu.

“Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease), pregnant women and young children,” according to the CDC.

The agency recommends that everyone 6 months old and above get a flu shot each year.

The FDA and CDC also have approved an RSV vaccine for adults 60 years and older. “SEARHC has not yet received a supply of this vaccine, but patients can call the clinic and ask to be put on the waitlist for scheduling,” Yancey said.

“RSV is a highly contagious virus that causes infections of the lungs and breathing passages in individuals of all age groups,” according to the FDA. “RSV circulation is seasonal, typically starting during the fall and peaking in the winter. In older adults, RSV is a common cause of lower respiratory tract disease, which affects the lungs and can cause life-threatening pneumonia and bronchiolitis.”

 

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