Springfield Flu Shot Clinics Open Doors to the Public
October marks the beginning of flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means flu shots are becoming available in many locations. Although last year's outbreak was mild, public health officials are saying that's not an indicator of what's to come this fall and winter.
The 2012-2013 flu shot is intended to protect those who get it from two new strains of influenza that weren't circulating last year. Helen Caulton-Harris is the director of Springfield's department of Health and Human Services. She says everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated.
"Be wise, get immunized, that's our message. In our homes and in the places that we work, it is critical that we help ourselves in terms of our own health, but also to protect those that might be around us."
Caulton-Harris says to combat its annual wave of influenza, the City of Springfield has been setting up free flu-shot clinics for about twenty years. She says for a while, Springfield was administering upwards of 3,000 free vaccines each year. But she says last year that number dwindled to about eighteen-hundred.
"The commonwealth has cut down on the amount of vaccines that it is giving to local boards of health. So that's a part of the challenge we had last year and certainly we expect it to be a challenge this year."
Caulton-Harris says if Springfield runs out of the state's vaccines it will choose a private vendor to buy from. She says no matter what, all city clinic shots are free to the public.