Seasonal flu is upon us, go get the shot

I headed down to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) free flu clinic Saturday and stood in line with hundreds of residents from Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop and, of course, East Boston.

Like many of my peers in line my primary care physician had run out of the seasonal flu shot, so Saturday’s clinic was a godsend for nearly two thousand area residents. And while a steady rain fell it did not deter people from lining up to receive either the shot or nasal spray vaccine.

The line moved very quickly and after checking in, filling out a small form, getting a red raffle ticket I was off to one of several nurses to get my poke in the arm. Okay, it hurt a little but it wasn’t bad. It just felt just like a Charlie Horse.

By Monday the phone calls were pouring into East Boston Neighborhood Health Center CEO Jack Cradock’s office, thanking he and his staff for the wonderful job they did during Saturday’s free seasonal flu shot clinic. One woman left a message for Cradock saying that she got her entire family of five vaccinated and the whole process took less than 15 minutes.

"Seasonal flu puts a major strain on the health care system every year and causes many days of missed school and lost work," said Cradock. "Our flu clinic gave the community the opportunity to prevent the flu, and in so doing, will keep East Boston and the surrounding area healthier this winter. We are grateful to our hardworking staff for vaccinating 1,700 individuals in five hours, it was an amazing effort. We are also grateful for the support of community leaders, including City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina and Boston Police Captain Robert Cunningham."

It was a remarkable feat for the clinic. EBNHC and its staff inoculated 1,700 people in less than five hours. While a majority were Eastie residents, 920 or 56 percent to be exact, residents from Revere (204), Chelsea (196), Winthrop (83) and 256 residents from other communities stopped by to be vaccinated.

As far as age groups, four were under the age of one, 14 were 1-year-olds, 31 were 2-year olds, 83 were 3 to 5-year-olds, 232 were 6 to 12-year-olds, 105 were 13 to 18-year-olds, 239 were 19 to 29-year-olds, 590 were 30 to 49-year-olds, 238 were 50 to 64-year-olds, and 96 were over the age of 65.

"The seasonal flu vaccine is highly effective and is a very important tool in illness prevention," said EBNHC President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. James O. Taylor, . "By inoculating such a large number of area residents, we will be able to conserve health care resources, which could be challenged in the coming months in treating other illnesses, namely H1N1."

Dr. Taylor also extended a big thanks to his staff and community leaders, that helped out with the clinic.

"We would have not been able to do it without them," he said.

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