As symptoms of seasonal influenza appear along with COVID-19 this fall, Camden County is taking steps to protect municipalities and residents, including annual flu shots during October and November.
“It is always important for our residents to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated, but with our battle against COVID-19 still in full effect, it is especially important in 2020,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the state Health Department.
“The flu is a dangerous illness, just like COVID-19, and patients frequently require hospitalization for treatment. A sudden surge in flu-related hospitalizations could reduce our health care system’s capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and endanger folks who would otherwise be treatable,” she added.
“We can save lives and keep our hospital beds open by preventing and limiting the spread of the flu, and that starts with as many residents as possible receiving their flu shot.”
Because of social distancing requirements and other COVID precautions, this years’ annual flu shot procedure will look different than in years past. Since the county was able to implement testing for COVID with drive-thrus, it will do the same for flu shots.
“The idea actually came from the COVID-19 testing that we’ve been doing and the way we were able to carry it out,” Rodriguez explained. “So we’ll actually use some of the same sites and the same setups.”
To receive the free flu vaccine, residents must bring documentation to drive-thrus and join car lines at the sites.
According to Rodriguez, the number of shots the county offers has dropped over the years, though officials aren’t sure why.
“Numbers have dropped significantly in recent years, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting vaccinated because we’re seeing a lot more happen in the pharmacies,” Rodriguez noted. “Plus, maybe more people are choosing to go to their doctors for them as well.”
Regardless, Camden County will offer more flu shots this year than typically anticipated, according to Rodriguez, as it prepares for the possibility that more residents will utilize the drive-thru sites for economic or other reasons.
“The most important thing about the flu schedule is make sure that people do get vaccinated,” said Rodriguez. “We know that some people, financially, may not have the means to do so. Either way, I feel that this year is going to be very critical, so we encourage people to get their vaccine, however they wish to get it, whether it be through our drive(thru) or other means.
“We don’t want to see people potentially battle dual infection,” she added. “We know how deadly COVID-19 is and the flu can be the same way, so combining the two could be disastrous for a person.”
For more information regarding the flu shot schedule, contact the county Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 999-9045 or visit www.camdencounty.com.
• Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Scottish Rite parking lot, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood
• Tuesday, Oct. 6: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dudley Grange Park, 3101 Federal St., Camden
• Thursday, Oct. 8 through Saturday, Oct. 10: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Winslow Township Municipal Complex, 125 S. Route 73, Braddock
• Tuesday, Oct. 13: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center, 420 Woodbury-Turnersville Road, Blackwood
• Thursday, Oct. 16 and Friday, Oct. 17: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Camden County College – Cherry Hill Campus, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill
• Tuesday, Oct. 20: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dudley Grange Park, 3101 Federal St., Camden
• Thursday, Oct. 22 through Saturday, Oct. 24: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Lindenwold Complex, 2311 Egg Harbor Road, Lindenwold
• Tuesday, Oct. 27: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center, 420 Woodbury-Turnersville Road, Blackwood
• Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Voorhees Town Center, 2110
Voorhees Town Center, Voorhees
• Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Gloucester City High School, 1300 Market St., Gloucester City
• Tuesday, Nov. 10: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dudley Grange Park, 3101 Federal St., Camden
• Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BBT Pavilion parking lot 1,
Harbour Boulevard, Camden
• Tuesday, Nov. 17: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center, 420 Woodbury-Turnersville Road, Blackwood
• Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at One Stop – Cherry Hill, 101 Woodcrest Road, Cherry Hill
• Tuesday, Nov. 24: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dudley Grange Park, 3101 Federal St., Camden