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Free flu shots being offered at drive-thru clinic in Danville next month

Biologist Rebecca Gillespie holds a vial of flu-fighting antibodies at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in Bethesda, Md. Despite 100 years of science, the flu virus too often beats our best defenses because it constantly mutates. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- The Pittsylvania Danville Health District is offering free seasonal flu vaccines at a special drive-thru clinic next month.

You can go the Hobby Lobby parking lot on Collins Drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, February 2.

500 doses of injectable vaccine (flu shot) will be available to anyone 12 and older on a first-come, first-served basis.

You don't have to make an appointment.

If you're unable to attend, there will be another free drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Danville Community Farmer's Market on Craghead Street in Danville on Saturday, February 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You can also get a free flu shot Monday through Friday at the Danville Health Department on Taylor Drive in Danville when it's open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

To make an appointment, call 434-766-9828.

“As many know this is an especially bad flu season nationwide, with lots of illness and even flu-associated deaths, most notably among previously healthy young people. Flu is everywhere in Virginia, and has been since early December,” said Scott J. Spillmann, MD, MPH, health director, Pittsylvania Danville Health District. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health recommend vaccination each year for everyone 6 months and older. It’s the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications.”

Everyone six-months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, according to the Virginia Department of Health, especially those at higher risk for influenza complications, including:

  • Pregnant and women who have recently given birth, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Persons over 65, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
  • People with chronic lung or heart problems, including asthma; and
  • People with other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, anemia, cancer, weak immune systems (including HIV), or a seizure disorder.

To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:

  • Get vaccinated;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your cough; use a disposable tissue or cough into your sleeve, not your hand; and
  • Stay at home when you are sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year's flu season won't be over anytime soon in their weekly flu reports, which estimates that this flu season will continue for many more weeks.

However, the CDC does believe peak flu season is either currently happening or will be soon.

49 states are reporting widespread flu activity with only Hawaii spared; 37 children have died from the flu and more than 86,000 flu cases have been reported by a doctor's office.

For more information, please call the Danville Health Department at 434-766-9828 or the Pittsylvania County Health Department in Chatham at 434-432-7232, or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.

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