Last year, LifeNet’s Stillwater, Oklahoma Division responded to dozens of flu-related 911 calls throughout Payne County. In an effort to mitigate the number of flu-related calls this year, LifeNet recently setup a mobile, “no-cost”, flu vaccine clinic for area senior living facilities.
“Last year we discovered many people we transported with flu like symptoms had never received a flu vaccination. Our Senior Operations Manager, Matt Williams, came up with the idea to hold on-site flu vaccination clinics at area senior living facilities to make it easier for people living in these facilities to get a flu shot this year,” said Kelly McCauley, General Manager for LifeNet in Stillwater.
Last year, Oklahoma was one of seven states who was hit with a high number of people contracting the flu early in the flu season. This year, the flu is already showing up across the state. Since September 1st, 27 Oklahomans have been hospitalized by the flu.
“LifeNet rolled the program out at Senior Residences of Stillwater this past Friday,” said Matt Williams, Senior Operations Manager for LifeNet in Stillwater. “We were able to vaccinate 14 residents. We are targeting this age group because the people most vulnerable to the flu are those 65 and over, although the flu affects all age groups.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends people receive flu vaccinations by the end of October because the vaccine can take up to two weeks to build the body’s immune system. Flu season will run through May 2019, but peak season is typically November thru February.
In addition to getting a flu shot, there are several things you can do to help protect yourself and others from the flu this year.
“Taking basic hygiene measures helps lower the risk of catching the flu,” McCauley said. “Washing hands, using hand sanitizers, sneezing into your arm instead of your hands, not touching your face, are the typical things recommended to help prevent the flu.”
According to the CDC, an estimated 80,000 Americans died from flu related complications last year. LifeNet is hoping to lower that number in Oklahoma by offering “no-cost” mobile clinics.
“We do not charge anything to come out to a facility and administer the flu shot,” Williams said. “We do ask for people to have their insurance cards available so we can bill their insurance for the vaccination. As a non-profit EMS agency, we understand not everyone living at a facility may be insured. If someone is not insured, LifeNet also has free flu shots available.”
To schedule a mobile flu vaccine clinic, call 405-707-0007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.