The number of people who come down with the flu each year varies. According to the federal government, the percentage usually ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent of the total population.

Coming to Duncan, a free drive-thru flu clinic will provide flu vaccinations for ages nine and over.

The clinic will set up from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Fuqua Park East, North Highway 81, in partnership with the Chickasaw Nation and the Stephens County Health Department.

Mendy Spohn, Regional Administrative Director for Stephens County with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) said, “we are grateful to the Chickasaw Nation for continuing to provide influenza vaccines to the local county health departments in a joint effort to protect the health of all citizens within the counties of the Chickasaw Nation.”

Spohn works with nine local health departments in South-Central Oklahoma as part of her job with OSDH.

They are in their fifth year with the two organizations partnered to prevent the spread of influenza in their region.

According to a press release, health departments in South-Central Oklahoma, in coordination with the Chickasaw Nation, plans to deliver flu vaccinations to surrounding communities beginning in the middle of September.

They encourage everyone to get vaccinated more this year and as early as possible because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, to take early preventative measures.

According to CDC data from the past five years, more than 500,000 people are hospitalized from the flu each year in the U.S.

Health department’s concern for this year is for those who contract both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. A press release states flu vaccines are proven to be effective in reducing the risk of contracting influenza or at minimum lessening the time an individual is sick with the virus. Even for those who have built up immunity to the seasonal flu, COVID-19, being new, has no immunity built up, leaving more people susceptible to illness.

According to Spohn, “this year it is vital that people receive their vaccination before flu viruses begin spreading in their community, since it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection against flu.” 

The health department states anyone over the age of six months should receive the flu vaccine. Those who are senior citizens, young children, pregnant women and individuals with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to serious health complications if they contract the virus.

Those attending must wear a mask and if needed, masks will be provided. The clinic also asks patients to wear short sleeves when visiting the clinic.

In the near future, county health departments said they are making plans for flu vaccinations at schools and more public drive-thru events.

For more information about the drive-thru clinic call the Stephens County Health Department at 580-252-0270.

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