Veterans arrived early for the flu shots now available from Durham's VA Health Care Center. Louis Cobb and Richard Zeher rolled up their sleeves for the first two vaccinations of the day.
"I've had a bunch of other shots," said Cobb. "I might as well get the flu shot, too!"
"We've had immunity shots for everything. You can't go to school if you don't have certain immune shots! So I said, let's get it!" Zeher said.
That's a potentially life saving attitude, at a time when some people question the need for shots in the arm to prevent serious illness.
"They're foolish! They're just foolish." Cobb said. "You should just get the shot. Protect yourself, and you just might protect other people, too."
Those who don't may be at risk for inconvenience, sickness or worse, according to medical experts.
"It's paramount. People forget about the flu because we're concerned with COVID at this time," said nurse practitioner Alicia McMillan. "But the flu is still out here, it's still has increased rates of mortality for those who contract the flu."
The Durham flu shot VA clinic is walk-in, with no appointment necessary. Veterans must register with the hospital if they haven't already done so.
"Between now and December 10, Monday through Friday 10 to 2. Outside of those hours, we're seeing veterans 8 to 10 am and 2 pm to 4 pm in the atrium, here in the main hospital. That's the same place where they can get COVID vaccinations," McMillan said. "CDC guidelines state that you can get the COVID shot and the flu shot on the same day, as long as you've get them in different sites. So you can get one in your right arm and one in your left, and you're good to go!"
The Durham VA Health Care System is offering the flu vaccines to all primary care clinics and most specialty clinics Monday through Friday during business hours. All VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics are also offering the flu shot during business hours. For the Durham campus, walk-in clinic is at the hospital's main entrance; and hours are 8-330 in their Atrium on the ground floor.
The Greenville VA Health Care Center is hosting drive-thru flu vaccine clinics for veterans from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 18 and 25 in the parking area at 401 Moye Blvd. The shot is available for all veterans registered for care within the Durham VA Health Care System at no cost and no required appointment. Masks are required there.
"We want to make the flu shot as convenient for our veterans as possible," wrote VA spokesperson Chris Camacho. "For veterans who aren't enrolled...call (919) 286-0411 and press '0' to speak with eligibility and enrollment."