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Where to get flu shots this season and why it’s important
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Registered Nurse Melissa Marquez gives An Pham a flu vaccination Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, the Department of Public Health in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

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Though the pandemic is still fresh on people’s minds, Northeast Georgia Health System is reminding people to not forget about flu shots.  

Dr. Sakib Maya, medical director of Urgent Care at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, said receiving the vaccine can not only prevent people from coming down with influenza, but it will help minimize the severity if someone catches it.  

“Because our hospitals and physician practices are already seeing record numbers of patients due to COVID-19, it’s especially important that we do everything we can to prevent even more visits and hospitalizations this year than in previous years,” Maya said.  

From August 2019 to July 2020, Northeast Georgia Medical Center hospitals in Gainesville, Braselton, Dahlonega and Winder had 234 hospitalizations because of the flu, with 230 of those occurring between November and March, The Times previously reported. The hospitals also saw more than 1,700 additional emergency visits for the flu that did not result in hospitalization, most of which took place between November and March.  

Now that the colder months are underway, Maya said the system’s clinics have begun to see influenza cases. This early into the season, she said it’s hard to predict the flu vaccine’s effectiveness and the virus’ severity.  

“Yes, the flu could be less severe due to more distancing and precautions being practiced in the community; however, at the same time it could still be more severe than normal since our population is already fighting another virus,” Maya said. “Remember, a significant portion of our population is fighting COVID-19, and that tends to make them vulnerable to other infections like influenza.” 

Upcoming flu-shot clinics

Good News Clinics, located at 810 Pine St. in Gainesville, is opening its doors to uninsured Hall County residents in need of a free flu shot from 2-4 p.m. every Friday in October.  

Liz Coates, the nonprofit’s executive director, said people don’t need to already be a patient at Good News to receive the free service, just uninsured. No appointment is necessary.  

For more information about flu vaccines and where to get them within the NGHS, visit nghs.com/flu

Where to find free or low-cost seasonal flu shots

Local Walmart pharmacies 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, around $25 without  

  • Hours: Individual store hours may vary 

Local CVS pharmacies 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, $39.99 without 

  • Hours: Individual store hours may vary 

Local Walgreens pharmacies 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, $40.99 without 

  • Hours: Individual store hours may vary 

Local Kroger pharmacies 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, $40 cash without  

  • Hours: Individual store hours may vary 

Local Publix pharmacies 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, $48 without 

  • Hours: Individual store hours may vary 

Good News Clinics 

Hall County Health Department 

  • Cost: Prices vary with insurance, $30 without 

  • Location: 1290 Athens St., Gainesville 

  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday; and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday 

Riverside Pharmacy 

  • Cost: Free with most insurance, $30 cash without 

 

Reporter Megan Reed contributed to this article.  

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