Local health clinic receives the first of the flu vaccines

By Pat Grubb

The folks at the local clinic have received the first of this year’s allotment of flu vaccine for Point Roberts. According to hospital district superintendent Barb Wayland, the clinic received the vaccine for young children aged three years and younger on October 23 and expect vaccines for older children, adults and seniors shortly.

Families with young children can call the clinic at 360/945-2580 to schedule.

The clinic will not be charging for immunizations regardless of age, said Wayland. Individuals with immunization coverage should bring their insurance cards but there will be no co-pay.

Speaking at the hospital district’s regular meeting on October 8, clinic provider Dr. Sean Bozorgzadeh had assured commissioners that a flu clinic would be offered once the vaccines arrived.

“We feel strongly about taking care of our community, so we’ll make it easy for people to get vaccinated,” Bozorgzdeh declared emphatically.

In other district news, Wayland reported that close to 25 people had attended a medical insurance update meeting held on October 7 to discuss options following Kaiser Permanente’s refusal to cover Point Roberts clinic patients. Kaiser has been pulling back on coverage since it took over Group Health in 2017 and has limited the number of doctors and clinics in its network. Wayland suggested that people should be writing to the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner to complain about Kaiser’s withdrawal from the market. Newly appointed hospital district commissioner Richard Dennis told fellow commissioners that he had received a letter from Kaiser saying “they cover everyone” after he had been denied coverage.

The board has changed its regular monthly meeting to the second Tuesday of every month. The meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Gulf Road community center.

Avoiding the flu …

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that vaccinations be offered by the end of October. As of October 11, nearly 128 million doses of flu vaccines had been distributed in the U.S.

The CDC advises that in addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, individuals should take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing their hands to reduce the spread of germs. Those people who are sick with the flu should stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of developing flu complications such as people older than 65 or who have compromised immune systems, and their close contacts. In the event that they develop flu symptoms, they should seek medical attention for possible treatment with a flu antiviral drug. These drugs work best if given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

CDC recommends that people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications and who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with flu antiviral drugs as quickly as possible without waiting for confirmatory testing.

People who are not at high risk of developing serious flu complications may also be treated with flu antiviral drugs, especially if treatment can begin within 48 hours.

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