FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Veteran Affairs is boosting its efforts to get former service members vaccinated against the flu in Fayetteville. The project coincides with findings from the CDC that flu cases in the region are on the rise early this season.
Veterans who are enrolled in the VA and have seen a health professional within the past two years are eligible to get free flu shots on Saturday. One of the vaccine clinics will be set up at the health care center on Raeford Road and will open from 8:30 AM to 11:45 AM. The other clinic will be at the Sanford Clinic on Tramway Road, and will be open from 8 AM to 11 AM.
Dr. Angela Hager Bailey of the Fayetteville VA Coastal Healthcare System says veterans are especially vulnerable if they get the flu.
"Our veteran population is at increased risk due to their chronic diseases associated with many years of long service," she said.
Dr. Bailey says the list of chronic diseases prevalent among veterans is long, including hypertension, diabetes, cognitive health failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Health experts say flu cases are running high this season because the general public has lost some of its immunity over the past two years. That is in part attributed to the isolation of COVID, a new wave of small children who haven't been vaccinated, and because less people are wearing masks.
However, Dr. Bailey says people can turn things around and urge people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families this holiday season.
"Now is the time for our veterans as we're making plans for Christmas, Thanksgiving and travel. Please don't travel without taking advantage of getting your flu shot now. It is not too late," Dr. Bailey said.
Anyone looking for more info can go to the VA website.