In an effort to increase the number of residents who are protected against the effects of seasonal flu, pneumonia and "whooping cough,” a free vaccination clinic will be held at Pilgrim High School, 111 Pilgrim Parkway, Dec. 5 from 4-7 p.m.
There is no out-of-pocket cost for these vaccinations. Those who are insured are asked to bring their insurance card; however, health insurance is not a requirement for vaccination and no one will be turned away for a lack of health insurance.
The clinic is being held in partnership with the state Department of Health as a preparedness exercise to help emergency responders and public safety officials prepare for the distribution of medication or vaccine in the event of an actual public health emergency. More importantly, it is a chance for residents to receive these vaccines.
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine protects against “whooping cough” and will be available for everyone 11 years of age and older. There has been a nationwide increase in pertussis cases, with small clusters in Rhode Island this year. Pertussis is a contagious disease that can cause illness and sometimes death, especially in infants.
Flu vaccines will also be offered. It is recommended that everyone older than six months of age, even those who are healthy, get a flu shot every year. It is especially important for pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses to get vaccinated now. The flu hits Rhode Island hardest in January and February every year. The flu vaccine will be available in the form of a shot or FluMist (nasal spray).
Pneumococcal vaccine prevents pneumonia. People ages 65 and older should get this vaccine, but it is especially important for everyone 19 years and older who smokes or has asthma to get vaccinated.
For more information about vaccines, contact the Rhode Island Department of Health at 222-5960, RI Relay 711 or visit www.health.ri.gov/immunization. For more information about the clinic, contact Pat Seltzer, RN, community wellness nurse, at 468-4103 or 468-4077.