Health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot this Fall. Historically, since flu shots first became widely available over a half century ago, for various reasons, less than half of all Americans get a flu shot each year.
Medical evidence indicates that while flu shots don't offer total protection from all varieties of flu, they do help to prevent the varieties targeted by that year's dosage, and those who get the flu even after taking a flu shot usually have less severe cases. Statistically, those who don't get the flu shot are much more likely to die from the flu or complications than those who do.
This year's shot will target four varieties of flu (they usually target three) because of concern that with the coronavirus pandemic, there may be an increased medical crisis if the flu season turns out to be a bad one.
Flu shots are now available from most doctors and pharmacies. Those who have Medicare can get a flu shot FREE. Those with Medicaid can get a flu shot either free or at a reduced cost.
Starting Monday (Sept. 14th), all enrolled veterans in the Western North Carolina VA Health Care System will also be able to receive their flu shot FREE.
Veterans who already have scheduled appointments may receive their flu shots at the time of their appointments at primary care facilities, specialty care clinics, and the Franklin, Hickory, and Rutherford County Community Based Outpatient Clinics.
Drive-thru flu shot clinics are a new option this year. Flu shots will be available curbside during designated times at the VA Medical Center in Asheville and the CBOCs including Hickory.
The Hickory CBOC is at 2440 Century Place SE in Hickory. Drive-thru clinics will be held at that location on September 22nd, 24th, & 29th from 8 AM - 3 PM; Oct. 1st, 6th, 8th, 13th, & 15th, also 8 - 3; and October 7th and 14th from 8 AM - noon.
Enrolled veterans (active within the past 24 months) can also receive a flu shot through the Community Care Network retail pharmacies, whic will provide flu shots at no cost with no co-payment. Participating CCN retail pharmacies in our area include CVS, Walmart, Sentry Drug, Keever Pharmacy, TAS Drug (West Lincoln & Maiden), Ingles, the Drug Store, Publix (Denver).