As flu season nears, Cleveland Clinic is offering appointment-only community flu vaccination clinics at numerous locations across Northeast Ohio.
Patients can schedule an appointment at one of our clinics by phone or via their MyChart account. Specific appointment times will be available for patients age 65 an older. More information on how to receive your flu vaccination can be found at: www.clevelandclinic.org/flu.
Patients can also receive the flu vaccine at most scheduled in-person office visits with a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. In addition, patients can call their primary care physician’s office to schedule a flu vaccination appointment. Flu vaccinations for children under age three may only be scheduled with the patient’s primary care provider’s office.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, extra precautions have been put into place to ensure the safety of patients and caregivers as flu vaccinations are provided to our patients. Safety measures include distanced furniture in common areas, appropriate personal protective equipment for caregivers, frequent disinfecting, and screening patients for COVID-19. More information about Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to safety can be found here.
Infectious disease experts recommend everyone six months and older get vaccinated every year. The flu is contagious and can cause serious respiratory infection. The timing of seasonal flu activity is unpredictable and can vary, but most typically occurs between October and May. After vaccination, it can take two to four weeks for the antibodies that protect against the influenza virus infection to develop in the body. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, such as adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, and children younger than age five. Yearly vaccination provides the best protection against flu throughout the season.
“While COVID-19 has been on the top of people’s minds for the past several months, influenza is not a disease that should be taken lightly, as every year thousands of people are hospitalized or die from the illness,” said Steven Gordon, M.D., Chair of the Department of Infectious Disease at Cleveland Clinic. “We don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19 at this time, but we can get vaccinated and protect ourselves against the flu. By getting vaccinated, you’re also protecting your loved ones and those around you by lessening the amount of flu that’s spread in the community. This is especially important as we are continuing to see community spread and hospitalizations for COVID-19.”
The CDC estimates that during the 2019-2020 flu season there were up to 56 million flu illnesses, 740,000 hospitalizations and 62,000 deaths.
The same precautions that protect against COVID-19, will also help protect from the flu – proper hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when sick and wearing masks. In addition, there are prescription antiviral medications that can be used to treat influenza illness.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, dry cough, headache, sore throat, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.