TCRHCC offering flu shots to high-risk patients

TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) will be offering flu shots to those at high risk of severe influenza (flu) complications in October.

Native Americans are encouraged to get their flu shots every flu season. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Native Americans are four times more likely to have complications from the flu than other Americans.

"There is some evidence that Native Americans have a higher attack rate for flu and more complications than other ethnic groups," said Dr. Diana Hu, Pediatrician and Immunization Coordinator. "This is actually true for Indigenous persons around the globe, and the reasons are unclear. However, this makes it more important that Native people get flu shots each year to prevent spreading the flu in their communities."

Native Americans that have other health conditions, such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and asthma, are at higher risk of having complications (like pneumonia or lung infection) from an influenza infection.

Everyone over 6 months of age is encouraged to receive a flu shot sometime this year. TCRHCC has only received a limited amount of flu vaccine.

Therefore, beginning the first week of October, nurses at TCRHCC will screen people to see if they fall into the high-risk category. The following groups of people are strongly encouraged to get flu shots:

• People age 65 and older,

• Children from 6 months to 2 years and adults up to 64 years with chronic health problems,

• Pregnant women,

• Healthcare workers who provide direct patient care, and

• Caretakers that care for children less than 6 months old.

People who are not in the priority groups are encouraged to wait until mid-October to get their flu vaccinations at the Tuba City hospital or other community-based flu clinics sponsored by the hospital.

Flu season typically runs from October through March, and vaccinations can be given at any time during those months.

The Tuba City Regional Medical Center sponsors community events where a team of nurses, physicians and pharmacy staff will offer the influenza vaccination to anyone wanting to receive a flu shot on these days.

The next community flu vaccination events will be held:

• Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 12-6 p.m. (DST) at the Tonalea Chapter House and from 1-6 p.m. (DST) at the Le Chee Chapter House.

• Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (DST) at Tuba City High School.

For those unable to make it to the clinics listed above, there will be a flu clinic at the Tuba City hospital in October. The clinic hours and location will be provided later in the month. Other community events may be scheduled in November. Please check www.tchealth.org for updates.

For patients living in Flagstaff, the Sacred Peaks Health Center is also planning a community flu clinic on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (MST). The clinic is located at 3480 E. Route 66 in Flagstaff.

Each clinic site will offer non-beneficiaries the flu vaccine for a nominal fee. Non-beneficiaries are encouraged to bring their insurance and patient registration information.

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