To encourage social distancing and provide a safe environment for patients, WellSpan Health is changing the way flu vaccines are given at the office. In some places, the vaccine can be given from the comfort and safety of your car.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic some people may still feel uncomfortable about going into their physician’s office," said Dr. Mark Goedecker, vice president and regional medical director, WellSpan Health. "Although we've been doing a lot of remote visits, we cannot virtually give a vaccine. That is why we're reimagining how we are offering the vaccine this year, which includes a drive-up space in some locations."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for everyone six months of age and older, with some rare exceptions.
The drive-up approach eases the mind of Terry Cassner, who visited the WellSpan Greencastle Health Center for his shot. Now retired, Terry watches his grandson during the week, and says the vaccine will protect them both.
"I have been very careful in protecting myself from the coronavirus," said Cassner. "Getting the flu shot will keep me healthy to care for my grandson during the flu season. Receiving it in this way makes me feel at ease that I can be safe for the both of us."
Dr. Goedecker explained, the influenza vaccine can help protect some individuals from coming down with the flu and help lower the severity of illness if they do get sick. Adults older than 65 and adults with chronic health conditions are at an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu.
The Flu or COVID-19?
Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses that are caused by different viruses. Both can have similar symptoms such as fever and cough and both viruses can result in serious illness or death.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
Symptoms of the flu:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain
"A flu shot will not protect a person against COVID-19 but many of the precautions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as frequent hand hygiene and wearing masks will also be effective in stopping the spread of the flu," said Dr. Goedecker.
According to the CDC, the best time to get a flu vaccine is by the end of October.
"No matter which office patients visit for a flu vaccine, we're taking extra measures to keep them safe. In addition to drive-up flu spaces, we're offering self-rooming and designated exam rooms for flu vaccination in some locations," said Goedecker.
Patients who wish to receive a flu shot without going into their provider's office are encouraged to call ahead to their WellSpan Family Medicine location to schedule a parking lot visit.
Flu shots are also available at WellSpan Urgent Care and WellSpan Pharmacy locations.
Schedule a flu shot near you.