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LVHN offers free flu shots at drive-thru clinic event

Lehigh Valley Health Network will provide free influenza vaccinations for the 24th straight year for adults and children 6 months and older during two community sessions in November.

Shots will be all drive-thru at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7.

LVHN’s longtime drive-thru vaccination partner, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, will not be available to participate this year, due to an extended operating season.

For the past 23 years, LVHN’s community influenza vaccination campaign has administered nearly 188,000 free flu shots and collected more than 152,000 pounds of food for area food banks.

“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year, because it can reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization, and death from the flu,” said Dr. Alex Benjamin, LVHN’s chief of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. “Getting a flu vaccine can also reduce the burden on the health care system that continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Benjamin said routine vaccination should be deferred for people with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, regardless of symptoms, until they have met criteria to discontinue isolation.

While having a mild illness is not a contraindication to vaccination, visits for these individuals should be postponed to avoid exposing health care personnel and other patients to the coronavirus.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, adults and children age two and older in the vehicle will be required to wear a face covering as will all those working the vaccination clinic.

Again, this year LVHN is partnering with area food banks and shelters to accept donations of unexpired, nonperishable food items during each of the drive-thru 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 nonperishable.

In addition, volunteers will be collecting other items to assist those in need in our community. These include things like diapers, personal hygiene products - toothbrushes, for example - coffee pods and disinfectant wipes.

A vaccine information statement, consent form and map of the vaccination route for Coca-Cola Park are available at lvhn.org/flushot.

Please bring a completed and signed 2020-2021 consent form for each individual receiving a flu shot.

According to Terry Burger, a nurse and administrator for Infection Control and Prevention, a standard dose of flu vaccine will be given to those six months to 64 years of age. Burger said those 65 and older will be offered the senior vaccine.

“Anyone can get the flu,” Burger said. “Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match the influenza viruses in a given year, it might still provide some protection. Getting the vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu.”

Those planning to receive a flu shot during the November drive-thru vaccination campaign are asked to abide by the following requests:

• Review the vaccine information sheet and complete and bring the 2021-2022 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 - loosefitting clothing for the shot to be administered in the arm, and the leg of children under two years old.