SHELDON—The shift from the summer season to the fall also signifies the start of flu season, which usually runs from September to April.
Sanford Sheldon Medical Center is prepared for flu season and is offering a few drive-thru flu shot clinics with the second one happening today (Wednesday, Oct. 6).
The first clinic was Monday, Oct. 4. There is another one 5-7:30 p.m. Monday. The drive-thru clinics continue 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Oct. 16.
“There are two little blue sheds east to the clinic and that’s where we plan to do the clinics,” said Dr. Ryan Becker of Sanford Sheldon. “We will have the regular flu shots there and the high-dose ones for those 65 and above.”
He said that when those drive-thru clinics conclude, he thinks there will be some other evening clinics offered during the month.
“October is a great time to get the shot,” Becker said. “That will carry into April and will carry you for the entire flu season.”
Flu shots also are available at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center.
“They can come in any time, preferably 8 to 9 in the morning before our rush,” said Becker, who has been at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center since 2014. “Just give the clinic a call at 324-5356. They can get on the list. We not only have the drive-thrus but also the in-clinic flu shot.”
While it is important to get the flu shot each year, Becker said it is a little more important this year just like it was stressed to get the flu shot last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the more people who are vaccinated for influenza, the less stress it puts on hospitals.
“We are still dealing with the pandemic, so if we can keep clinic visits low, that is key,” Becker said. “It helps keep people out of the hospital. Getting a flu shot to help minimize the risk would help the medical system.”
He said the flu vaccine is about 60 percent to 70 percent effective.
“If you get the shot and get the flu a month or two later, the overall manifestations won’t be as severe because you got the shot,” Becker said.
Sanford Sheldon still has COVID-19 vaccines available for anyone who is unvaccinated. Becker said all three options — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — are available.
“I would encourage those out there to get their flu shot and for the COVID shot, sit down with your health-care provider and determine which COVID shot is right for you,” he said.
Becker added normal checkups remain important even with the pandemic still ongoing.
“I want to remind people to still get in for their normal checkups. You don’t want to lose track of that,” he said. “When it comes to mammograms and colonoscopies and other procedures, we want to get them back up to keep people healthy to prevent those things as well.”