Public prepares for flu season at mass vaccination ‘shootout’

A man gets a flu shot at a drive-thru station at the Washington County Flu Shootout, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Cars were lined up in the northern part of the Red Cliffs Mall parking lot Wednesday as drivers and passengers waited to get flu vaccinations.

Together with community partners and volunteers, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, or SWUPHD, held its eighth annual Washington County Flu Shootout at the mall. Many people were able to get shots without having to leave their vehicles as they were given drive-thru vaccination service, while others went inside the mall where a small clinic area had been set up.

For a lot of people, this has become an annual tradition – especially for our older folks,” Dave Heaton, SWUPHD public information officer, said.

The flu shootout tends to draw between 1,200-1,500 people each year, he said.

The health department usually starts seeing flu cases appear in the fall, with the flu season peaking in early spring. It is currently unknown whether or not the pending season is expected to be mild or severe. Regardless, health officials encourage everyone to get a flu shot.

“It’s very important,” Dr. Dave Blodgett, SWUPDH director, said. “The no. 1 infectious disease killer remains the flu. Secondary is pneumonia.”

The flu kills approximately 30,000 people in the United States each year, Blodgett said.

Cars lined up with drivers and passengers waiting for a flu vaccination, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Cars lined up with drivers and passengers waiting for a flu vaccination, St. George, Utah, Sept. 23, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

People considered most susceptible to the flu are seniors and the very young – older than 65 and younger than 6 – and people with chronic health conditions who have weakened immune systems. Even if a person isn’t considered high risk when it comes to the disease, Heaton said, they should get the shot anyway.

“We also encourage anyone to get (the vaccination) because you can, in turn, protect those people you’re around,” Heaton said.

Blodgett reiterated the need to get the shot, as well, adding that while people may worry more about some exotic sicknesses they see covered in the press, the flu is what should have their immediate attention.

“People are worrying about Ebola and (Enterovirus D68), but this disease kills more people than either of those,” Blodgett said. “This is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy this winter. Wash your hands, eat well, exercise and get your flu shot.”

Aside from getting people vaccinated against the flu, Heaton said, the shootout helps the health department practice setting up vaccination stations needed in case an unforeseen emergency requires a mass medication/vaccination of the area populace. The health department can have the stations set up and ready to go in a matter of hours, Heaton said.

While the drive-thru portion of the mass vaccination event closed at 2 p.m., people can still get flu shots for themselves and their families inside the Red Cliffs Mall until 7 p.m. The mall is located at 1770 Red Cliffs Drive in St. George.

For individuals without insurance, flu shots are $18, while the nasal spray version (an alternative for those who have issues with needles) is $25. Payment is accepted in the form of cash, check or credit card. There is no charge for the vaccine with proof of the following insurances: Medicare HMO, Adult Medicaid, PEHP, Select Health, Altius, Arches, DMBA, United Healthcare, and Tall Tree, according to the SWUPHD website.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department also accepts walk-ins at its office at 620 S. 400 East in St George and at its offices in Beaver, Iron, Garfield and Kane counties. Detailed information can be found on the health department website.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • DAVE RABBITT September 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    “The former Chief Vaccine Officer at the FDA states: “there is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza.” Liking the idea of being protected from the flu does not equate to being protected from the flu. That’s essentially what your vaccine-promoting doctor (or pharmacist) is engaging in – promoting an idea.

    We just don’t know what we are doing: The grave possibility of undetectable viral proteins in the chick embryos used to culture vaccines is just an example of how the immune roulette of vaccine development and rampant implementation has resulted in death and lasting injury. C. jejeuni contamination, for example, IS THEORIZED TO PLAY A ROLE in documented risk of Guillain-Barre paralysis after flu vaccine. Producing antibody response to virus and associated toxic preservatives is not immunity. We know that now”.

    Guillain-Barré syndrome:

    If you have ever been to the Walker’s convenience store, in Hurricane, UT. early in the morning, you will see some of the Asian tourists exiting the tour bus, wearing surgical masks. Why?

    Why Do Japanese People Wear Masks?

    I’ve worked alongside of people for many years in St. George and Hurricane, (as a tire/lube tech/service manager) – in companies that provide service for vehicles/light trucks. You would be shocked at how many of their employees use the restroom and don’t wash their hands, afterwards. How do I know this, for an undeniable fact? Because I’m a hyper-aware / borderline germ FREAK. And I’ve experienced (first hand) someone who will enter the employee bathroom with dirty / greasy hands… stay in there for 5-15 minutes… and then exit with the same dirty / greasy hands.

    I’ve watched people pick their nose, rub their eyes, pick their teeth, hack-up lung cookies… and then share a soda or cigarette with their co-worker five minutes later.

    I’ve watched waitresses wipe the sweat from their brow, touch their face, touch their mouth, pick “sleep” from the corners of their eyes – and then serve you your meal.

    I’ve even witnessed MANY mothers change the diaper on their infant, wiping their butt – and then going about their normal routine, without washing their hands, afterwards!!

    Most people are just GROSS, because of their poor hygiene and lack of concern for the hygiene of others. Was it something that wasn’t “taught” to them, as a child – or are they simply just an inconsiderate, lazy slob?

    In any case, be careful of what you touch with your hands and then what you touch on yourself, afterwards. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and you’ll help prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis, Diarrhea, E. Coli, Adenovirus and Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease.

    Center for Disease Control and Prevention

    While I’m a big advocate about vaccinating your children against measles, smallpox, TB, etc…
    You don’t need a “flu-shot”, JUST WASH YOUR HANDS!!! …and before doing so; Don’t touch anything from your neck – up!

  • Bobber September 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I started opting for the nasal spray vaccine in recent years bc I learned they were injecting Thimerosal mercury containing preservative. It’s worth the few extra bucks for the peace of mind. I prefer to get all my mercury from tuna fishes anyways…

  • Zonkerb September 25, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I don’t take a fiu shot and never will they’re not going to put that toxic garbage in me I’ll take my chances

  • Truthseeker September 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

  • Truthseeker September 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Ha Ha first of all, what the- this is wierd, I always used to post comments and reference articles and my username is TruthSeeker and now someone else is using the name ha. To everyone that used to argue with me, it’s a different person. Anyways, true Infowars has some good articles. .

    Anyways, its no coincidence that there is a flu season right after everyone gets Vaccinated. Flu shots do nothing good for the body. And I’ll take what Dave Rabbit said one step further. Not only but shots, but any shots, especially all the ones given to children. We as a society, should stop injecting ourselves with poison. Toxic chemicals and metals that should not be in the body are resulting in many health problems we see. It’s a slow kill that serves the medical industry, not the people.

  • Truthseeker September 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Typo, not only ‘flu’ shots but any shots.

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