In an effort to increase the number of residents who are protected against the effects of seasonal flu, pneumonia and “Whooping Cough,” a free vaccination clinic will be held at Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, 2401 West Shore Road, this Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m., Mayor Scott Avedisian announced.
There is no out-of-pocket cost for these vaccinations. Those who are insured are asked to bring their insurance card; however, health insurance is not a requirement for vaccination and no one will be turned away for a lack of health insurance.
The clinic is being held in partnership with the state Department of Health as a preparedness exercise to help emergency responders and public safety officials prepare for the distribution of medication or vaccine in the event of an actual public health emergency. More importantly, it is a chance for residents to receive these vaccines.
• Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine protects against “Whooping Cough” and will be available for everyone 11 years of age and older. Pertussis is a contagious disease that can cause illness and sometimes death, especially in infants.
Anyone 19 years and older and especially those who are in close contact with an infant should get a Tdap vaccination if they have not previously received one. Tdap has only been licensed since 2005 so many adults have not yet received this vaccine.
Tdap is required for students before they enter seventh grade. Students who participate in the clinic will meet the vaccination requirement for seventh grade enrollment.
Pregnant women must be at least 20 weeks into their pregnancies to receive Tdap vaccine.
• Flu vaccines will also be offered. It is recommended that everyone older than 6 months of age, even those who are healthy, get a flu shot every year. It is especially important for pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses to get vaccinated now. The flu hits Rhode Island hardest in January and February every year. The flu vaccine will be available in the form of a shot or FluMist (nasal spray).
• Pneumococcal vaccine prevents pneumonia. People ages 65 and older should get this vaccine, but it is especially important for everyone 19 years and older who smokes or has asthma to get vaccinated.
For more information about vaccines, contact the Rhode Island Department of Health at 222-5960 / RI Relay 711 or visit www.health.ri.gov/immunization.
For more information about the clinic, contact Pat Seltzer, RN, community wellness nurse, at 468-4103 or 468-4077.