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City partners with Walgreens for flu vaccinations

Flu vaccinations for everyone over six months of age are encouraged -- in part to limit the burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evanston’s Health and Human Services Department is partnering with Walgreens to fight the flu by providing vaccination events to the community.

“With COVID-19 still present in our community, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever,” said Evanston Health and Human Services Director Ike Ogbo.

“Although flu vaccines won’t prevent COVID-19, they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, decrease hospitalizations and help conserve scarce medical resources,” Ogbo said. “Getting a flu vaccine is the best line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself and those around you from getting the flu.”

Ogbo says everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu.

The first vaccination event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the James Park Field House on Mulford Street west of Dodge Avenue. Advance registration is requested at cityofevanston.org/flu.

The event is for Evanston residents only, and is open to both drive-through and walk-through participants. Additional vaccination events will be added based on participation and demand.

Participants should bring an ID and their insurance card with them to the event, or be able to provide the name of their insurer. Walgreens will bill the primary insurance on file for the cost of the vaccination with no out-of-pocket cost to participants. Those without health insurance are welcome. Walgreens will not bill or charge participants who do not have insurance.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, Ogbo says, so it’s best to get vaccinated now.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other illnesses this winter, the City’s Health and Human Services Department reminds residents that in addition to getting a flu vaccine, they should practice the three Cs:

  1. Clean – Properly wash hands frequently
  2. Cover – Cover coughs and sneezes
  3. Contain – Contain germs by staying home if sick

Each year, the flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths in the United States. The majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, but even healthy children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.

On average, it takes two days after being exposed to the flu virus before symptoms begin. However, the flu can be transmitted to others roughly a day before symptoms begin and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

Flu symptoms can include fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches or fatigue, which are also symptoms indicative of COVID-19. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though that is more common in children than adults.

Information on other locations where the flu vaccine is available can be found at vaccinefinder.org.

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