Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) employees donated their time Saturday to help protect the community against the flu virus. Hundreds of people took advantage of the first of three free flu clinic hosted by SVMHS in partnership with the Monterey County Health Department.

People lined up in the parking lot of the SVMH Nathan Olivas Center well before the clinic opened at 10 this morning. Many parents brought their entire family to be vaccinated and some came from as far away as Soledad.

A second flu clinic takes place Tuesday, November 5th between 4pm and 7pm at Palma School, 919 Iverson Street in Salinas. The third, on Saturday, November 9th from 11am to 2pm at the Taylor Farms Family Health and Wellness Center, 850 5th Street in Gonzales.

The free flu clinics provide traditional shots as the most effective vaccine. The CDC reports that 79,400 people died from the flu during the 2017/2018 season in the United States and that nearly 50 million people contracted the virus.

In addition to the flu vaccine, Tdap vaccine was also available to the public at no cost. Tdap helps protect adults and adolescents against three diseases – tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis commonly known as whooping cough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a single dose of Tdap vaccine for people ages 11 and older who have not previously received Tdap.

You can find more information on the three free flu clinics at www.svmh.com/flu or by calling the SVMHS Health Promotion Department at (831) 759- 1890.

Editor note: Photos attached Melissa Deen, RN, SVMHS Infection Prevention manager with Salinas Resident Cristal Olivera