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More than 400 Turn Out for Free Community Flu Clinic at SVMHS Flu Protection Critical During COVID-19 Pandemic

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More than 400 Turn Out for Free Community Flu Clinic at SVMHS Flu Protection Critical During COVID-19 Pandemic

Manny Hernandez was the first person in line today for the free community flu clinic held at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS). He brought his entire family and says he feels like it’s his duty to get vaccinated. Mr. Hernandez pointed to his age -51 and smiled while glancing down toward his stomach when he said he fell into a couple of high risk groups for COVID-19.

“With COVID out there, we need to protect ourselves as much as we can,” says Manny Hernandez. “There’s not a vaccine for COVID but there is for the flu and I bring my family to the free clinic every year. I’m doing this to protect myself and to protect others too.”

Manny and his family were among more than 400 people who received free flu shots today. More than 50 nurses, hospital staff and Hartnell nursing students, many bilingual, volunteered to help process people and make the clinic a success.

“It’s encouraging to see so many families partner with us to stay healthy this winter,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “I’m grateful to our nurses and other hospital staff who are volunteering their time today to make sure everyone in our community has access to the flu vaccine.”

Delgado stressed the importance of vaccinations in his weekly video message to the community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the flu killed 34,200 people during the 2018-2019 influenza season. This year, the CDC reports more than 212,000 people have died as a result of the coronavirus. Keeping people out of the hospital with severe flu symptoms helps free up hospital beds and other resources needed during what many people are calling a “twindemic,” the combined threat of the flu and COVID-19.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System hosts the clinic in collaboration with the Monterey County Health Department. The SVMHS health promotion department worked with the Hospital’s employee health team to create a safe outdoor clinic environment for anyone coming to receive a free shot.

“There was a lot of pre-event planning for this year’s flu clinic,” says Amanda Meyer, Health Promotion Director. “We put cones every six-eight feet to help form a socially distanced line and did temperature checks and COVID-19 screening before moving anyone to the clinic area. It worked great and people are so grateful for the opportunity to get vaccinated from people they trust.”

The flu vaccine is safe and the most effective way to prevent getting the flu. Two additional free community flu clinics are scheduled for later this month.

Tuesday, October 13, 4pm - 7pm

Palma High School

919 Iverson Street, Salinas

Saturday, October 24, 11am - 2pm

Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center

850 5th Street, Gonzales

Manny Hernandez encourages everyone to do what he did and take advantage of the free flu shots. “I come here every year and appreciate what Salinas Valley Memorial does for us,” says Hernandez. “Fortunately I’m still working but with COVID, a lot of people don’t have a job. Either way I save more than a hundred bucks and I feel good about protecting my family and helping to protect others.”

People should not attend a clinic if they have a fever or are not feeling well. Masks are required at all locations. The free shots are administered on a first come, first serve basis and quantities are limited. A total of 402 people received a flu shot today. You can find more information at www.svmh.com/flu or by calling our Health Promotion Department at (831) 759- 1890.