Haverhill, Methuen, Andover Offer Flu Shots

With flu season approaching, area communities are making flu vaccines available to residents.

Flu shots are available at the Haverhill Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., Monday, Oct. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon.  Organizers are asking residents with health insurance to bring insurance cards. Inoculations are also available to those without insurance. Haverhill city nurse Mary Connolly told WHAV the schedule is subject to availability of a remaining supply of about 70 vaccine doses. A prior clinic was held at the center last week.

The Andover Health Department will be holding public flu clinics from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6, at West Middle School, and Monday, Nov. 17, at the Andover Senior Center at Punchard. There is no out-of-pocket charge regardless of health insurance coverage, however organizers ask those with health insurance cards to bring them to the clinic. For more information, call the Andover health department, weekdays, at (978) 623-8295, or visit andoverma.gov/health.

The Methuen Health Department is sponsoring two public flu vaccination clinics, held in conjunction with Rite Aid Pharmacy, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, and Wednesday, October 29, in Sanborn Hall at the Quinn Building, 90 Hampshire St. Availability is subject to change without notice and while supplies last.

Most major insurance carriers are accepted. Insurance cards and ID required. Cost of a flu shot without insurance is $29. Cash and checks (payable to Rite Aid) accepted. These clinics are open to residents age 18 or over. For more information, call the Methuen Health Department at (978) 983-8655 or (978) 983-8661.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports, "influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. 'Flu season' in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May."

"During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community."