The Department of Public Health is offering a first-of-its kind free flu clinic this weekend, in response to an aggressive flu season making its way across the U.S. and the world.
Raul Pino, Department of Public Health commissioner, said the vaccines will be available across the state Saturday. A full listing, with hours, can be found on the DPH website.
“Even when the vaccine may not be effective 100 percent, it does prime the immune system to respond better, and more aggressively, in the case that people get exposed to the virus,” Pino said. “We have seen people getting rapidly sicker when they get the flu, and for those who have, unfortunately, passed away - it happens very quick.”
The Connecticut Department of Public Health will work with more than a dozen local health agencies to provide the shots for residents aged six months and older.
Pino said all flu shots will be free. If you have your insurance card, bring it. But if you don’t have insurance, you can still get the shot at no charge.
“The idea is to offer these services for free for those who cannot afford it, to provide vaccinations across the state in one day,” Pino said, “so that individuals who work and don’t have the ability during their work hours to go and get vaccinated, still [have] time to get vaccinated.”
Between August and January, Connecticut had 32-influenza-associated deaths. All but four cases were in patients older than 65.
Right now, the DPH said state flu deaths are within ranges reported in Connecticut during the previous eight seasons.
“We have seen an increase in the numbers earlier,” Pino said. “Last season, we [had] 65 deaths in the state -- it was the highest season that we have in record, and we don’t want that to repeat.”
Meanwhile, national influenza activity continues to increase.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of states combating “high” levels of the flu is now in the dozens, including Puerto Rico.