LVHN providing flu shots for free in 20th annual year
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) will administer free seasonal flu vaccinations for the 20th straight year for adults and children six months and older during two community sessions in November.
Shots are administered as drive-throughs, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Nov. 4, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, South Whitehall Township, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 5, Coca-Cola Park, Allentown.
According to Terry Burger, RN, LVHN’s Director of Infection Control and Prevention, quadrivalent flu vaccine will be given this year to those six months to 64 years of age. It will protect against four different flu strains, two influenza Type A strains and two influenza Type B strains. Burger said those 65 and older will be offered the trivalent high-dose vaccine.
“The elderly generally have weaker immune systems, which puts them at greater risk of severe illness from influenza,” Burger said. “Also, aging lowers the body’s ability to fight off the flu even with the vaccine. So a higher dose is supposed to stimulate a more effective immune response for those 65 and older and therefore, better protection against the flu.”
Burger said vaccine supplies are expected to be plentiful this year and so the public should not be concerned about being able to get a shot.
During the past 19 years, LVHN’s community influenza vaccination campaign has administered 150,000 free flu shots and collected 100,000 pounds of food for area food banks.
Again this year LVHN is partnering with area food banks and shelters including the Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley, Allentown Rescue Mission, Transitional Living Center Program and the AIDS Activities Office food pantry to accept donations of unexpired, non-perishable food items during each of the drive-through sessions.
Food donations are optional and not required to receive a shot. Those who choose to donate food are urged to check the expiration date and only bring items that have not expired and are non-perishable.
Those planning to receive a flu shot during LVHN’s November drive-thru vaccination campaign are asked to abide by the following requests:
- Review the vaccine information sheet and complete and bring the 2017-2018 consent form for each person to be vaccinated. Forms may be found at lvhn.org/flushot, or requested by calling 888-402-LVHN (5846).
- Dress appropriately: loose-fitting clothing for the shot to be administered in the arm, and the leg of children under two-years-old.
LVHN will partner with the Allentown Health Bureau to offer online registration again this year. Slots are available for either the morning or afternoon sessions Nov. 4 and 5. Slots are not appointments, so those reserving times may arrive at any time during the reserved time period.
A vaccine information statement, consent form, link to online registration and maps of both locations are available at lvhn.org/flushot. Bring a completed, and signed 2017-2018 consent form for each individual receiving a flu shot.