Veterans keep local flu shot clinic busy

Fewer veterans across the nation are reporting for vaccinations than when the season started, but the clinic at Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center “is still going strong,” a medical center spokesman said.

About 38,000 veterans lined up for flu shots at clinics around the U.S. during the week ending Nov. 2, down from 115,000 who received vaccinations the previous week, Veteran Affairs reported.

In Grand Junction, however, the stream of veterans seeking inoculations continued at a steady pace, said Paul Sweeney, medical center spokesman.

“Nationwide, veterans’ interest has dropped off ... but our flu shot clinic is still going strong,” Sweeney said. “We are no longer giving a 100 plus (inoculations) a day, but are still hitting 75 to 80 a day.” 

To date, the medical center has administered more than 6,000 shots. It has about 2,000 doses of the flu vaccine left, he said.

“I don’t know if the decline is reflected in the non-veteran population or not,” Sweeney said.

Nationally, Veterans Affairs recorded 1,186,554 doses of flu vaccine administered since Aug. 1.

Slightly more than 5 percent of the lab specimens taken from the veterans tested positive for flu during the week ending 
Nov. 2.

Of those, 80 percent were Influenza A and 20 percent were Influenza B.

The highest number of flu tests confirmed by lab results during the same period were seen in Mississippi, Texas, California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Tennessee.

More than 54 percent of influenza hospitalizations are among Veterans Affairs patients aged 65 and older, the organization reported. 

Although closed today in observance of Veterans Day, the Veterans Affairs flu shot clinic, 2121 North Ave., normally maintains hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m., Sweeney said.

The shots are free to all patients enrolled for care at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center and to any veteran who can provide proof of military service.


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