This fall Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) will partner with the Delta County Health Department to offer flu clinics at the DCMH 2020 health fair and early blood draw events.

“We are committed to the community’s health and want to make sure everyone has easier access to the flu shot and that they know what health services are in their area,” said Jacque Davis, marketing director for DCMH.

“Adding the flu clinics was a really big reason why we pushed our health fairs later in the year. We have been excited to announce the addition of the flu clinics, but wanted to confirm everything before doing so.”

Davis said partnering with the Delta County Health Department is important to the overall mission of DCMH.

“We understand that the hospital is only one player among many in the county with an interest in the health of its residents,” said Davis. “We are always excited when we have the opportunity to work with other organizations. We are so pleased to be working with the health department in this project.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot each year. It is important to get the flu vaccine every year because our immune systems decline as we age and the flu viruses are constantly changing each year.

“This year we are excited to partner with Delta County Memorial Hospital to provide the flu vaccine. We hope that by offering the flu vaccine at the health fair, it will make it more convenient for residents,” said Kendra Wilson, public health nurse at Delta County.

Last year, flu hospitalizations were mostly caused by the H1N1 virus, a less aggressive than the H3N2 virus which in 2017-18 led to one of Colorado’s worst flu seasons with an estimated 4,650 people hospitalized.

“The Flu Vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related Emergency Department visits each year,” said Karen Lyons, DCMH emergency department director.

“For children, studies show that those who receive the flu vaccine reduce the risk of being admitted to the hospital. It is also important to get vaccinated to protect people around you, including those with certain chronic health conditions, babies and young children, and the elderly. Getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness.”

Health officials say this year's flu season is on track to be one of the worst in decades and according to the CDC, it is still too early to know if the flu season has yet peaked. As of Jan. 22 there have been 1,082 hospitalizations in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE).

“We have seen several individuals hospitalized who have tested positive for the flu this year here at DCMH,” stated Mark Carlton, DCMH pharmacy director, “Getting your annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect yourself and the community against the flu because it can reduce the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and flu-related death in children.”

Each year the vaccine changes composition. The quadrivalent vaccine for the 2019-20 flu season contained these four components: A(H1N1), A(H3N2), B/Victoria, B/Yamagata. The choice of the components is made by studying the prevalence of last season’s flu type around the world.

“Even if the components fail to match the flu in your area, being vaccinated has been shown to decrease the severity of infection,” Carlton said, adding, “Influenza is a potentially serious respiratory illness that anyone can get (even healthy people), which can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. That is why we encourage Delta County and surrounding residents to come get a flu shot to help combat the flu.”

“The flu shot will be offered this coming fall at all seven early blood draw and health fair locations. We will be able to charge most insurance or take cash payment. We are hoping to show a positive impact going forward for the health of our community,”Davis said.

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