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Free flu vaccinations at ‘pop-ups’

Hepatitis A shots also free with COVID-19 testing at Lee County Health walk-up locations

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 23, 2020

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

Lee County residents can now receive vaccines for the flu and Hepatitis A while getting tested for Covid-19.

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is offering the free vaccines at pop-up Covid-19 testing sites as of Thursday. DOH-Lee, in conjunction with the county, organized these free, walk-up sites that have been available to residents at various locations throughout the county all month long.

The flu vaccine is available to anyone age 6 months and older; the Hepatitis A vaccine is available to those 18 and older.

According to DOH-Lee, “The best time to receive a flu vaccine is before flu viruses begin spreading in the community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu so plan to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

“According to CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Last year’s vaccine may not protect against the current year’s strain. Even if the vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, the vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.”

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV), said DOH-Lee. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter–even in microscopic amounts–from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces (stool) of an infected person.

At these pop-up sites, DOH staff will have 300 COVID-19 tests available at each site for anyone 4 years of age or older.

Testing is scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 9 a.m. and will continue, weather permitting, until 12:30p.m. Children under 4 will be referred for testing to DOH-Lee. There is no fee for the test, and no appointment or doctor’s order is necessary. Parking is limited at some sites. These are not drive-thru sites; attendees are asked to walk up to the testing area.

Remaining test dates and sites include:

• Thursday Sept. 24: Veteran’s Park, 55 Homestead Rd. S., Lehigh Acres

• Tuesday, Sept. 29: Kurt Donaldson Park, 180 Hunter Blvd., Cape Coral

COVID-19 is a highly contagious viral disease. For most individuals, symptoms are mild. For a minority, the disease becomes a type of viral pneumonia with severe complications. Especially at risk are those who are older, those with underlying health conditions and the immune-compromised.

Officials strongly urge all members of the public who are at risk to remain at home so as to limit exposure. All others are urged to observe social distancing and to wear a mask for all public interactions.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit the live DOH Dashboard.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj