Only 38.3 percent of people in the southwest part of Salt Lake County got flu shots in 2014 according to an Intermountain Community Health Needs Assessment in 2014, which is four percent lower than the national average of 42.2 percent.
Riverton and its surrounding communities have a young population and lots of children, which means they could be at risk.
“Many people have the misconception that flu shots are just for older people, but flu shots are recommended for young healthy people, including children and babies more than six months old. If more people get vaccinated, the flu is less likely to spread to those who are most vulnerable,” says Nathan Peterson, Intermountain Community Health Director at Riverton Hospital.
Pregnant women, children under five and adults over 50 or those with chronic conditions are more susceptible to the flu than others according to Utah’s Public Health Data Indicator Based Information System.
“Flu season begins in October. It’s best to get your flu shot early, since it takes a few weeks to build up immunity. Everyone who doesn’t want to get the flu should get a flu shot,” says Intermountain Southridge Clinic pharmacist Melinda Gonzales, PharmD. “The drive-thru clinic provides a convenient way for healthy people and those who are vulnerable to the flu to receive a flu shot, and is helpful for people with limited mobility.”
Flu shots will be provided by pharmacists and Primary Children’s nurses specially trained to immunize children.
During the 2014-2015 influenza season, approximately 1,400 Utah residents were hospitalized due to influenza. Nearly 1 in 12 Utah resident deaths (7.8%) had pneumonia and/or influenza listed as the cause of death.
“Many parents get their baby or child the immunizations required for day care or school in the summer, but don’t go back to their doctor for an annual flu shot in the fall,” says Ali McInturff, MD, a pediatrician at Intermountain Southridge Clinic at Intermountain Riverton Hospital. “Not getting a flu shot for your child can have serious consequences,” she adds.
Flu is the number one cause of vaccine preventable deaths in U.S. children. More than twice as many children under age 14 die from the flu each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined (polio, measles, whooping cough, hepatitis, and meningitis).
The new high dose flu vaccine released in September 2017 by the CDC for seniors age 65 and up who are identified by their physician as being at special risk for the flu is now available at the Riverton Hospital Southridge Pharmacy. Ask your doctor if you think you may need the high dose vaccine.
Seniors needing the high dose flu shot can get it at the hospital pharmacy on a walk-in basis inside the hospital the day of the health fair and during flu season while supplies last. Flu season begins in October.
What is the cost of the drive-thru flu shot?
- Riverton Hospital will only accept Medicare, Medicaid, and SelectHealth insurance at the drive-thru. Bring your insurance card. Cost is covered.
- Other types of insurance can be billed for the flu shot inside the hospital at the outpatient pharmacy during the health fair and on a walk-in basis throughout flu season while supplies last.
- $39 for self-pay. Cash or check only at drive thru. Credit cards are accepted at the pharmacy.
- Free screenings and activitiesavailable inside the hospital
- Free blood pressure and body fat composition health screenings will be offered inside the hospital. Discounted cholesterol screenings (lipid panel) will be available for $8 and patients should come having fasted for 12 hours (drinking water and taking medications is ok). Lab area will open at 8 a.m.
- Free kid-friendly activities at the Community Health Fair include:
- An interactive operating room where kids can gown up and try safe surgical instruments
- Movie character princesses available for photos and autographs
- Fire trucks and police cruisers on display
- Free family photo booth and adopt a pumpkin for kids
- Radio stations 97.1 and KDUT 102.3 will broadcast live from the hospital
- Free health information and giveaways