The all-Island seasonal flu immunization clinic for adults and high school students takes place from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturday, September 22, at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Children who have not yet reached ninth grade will not be vaccinated.
For those driving to the clinic, preregistration is required at vehicle staging areas in Waban Park in Oak Bluffs or at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury prior to arriving at the high school for vaccination. Walkers, bicycle riders, and those arriving by Vineyard Transit Authority buses should go directly to the high school Performing Arts Center to check in.
Although vaccinations are free of charge and do not require medical insurance, participants are requested to bring Medicare or insurance information, along with a completed vaccine administration form and screening questionnaire, to the staging sites and to wear a short-sleeved shirt.
Registration forms and staging information are available at town halls, the Councils on Aging, libraries, and pharmacies. More information is available online at the Dukes County website at dukescounty.org.
Seasonal flu outbreaks can happen at any time, but most cases occur from October through May, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Although the all-Island immunization event traditionally takes place in November around Veterans Day, its organizers decided to move the date up this year, Tisbury assistant health agent Maura Valley said.
“Last year, we didn’t get the turnout that we usually do,” she explained. “The Island’s flu season tends to start in January. While November is not too late for getting immunized, pharmacies and stores off-Island, as well as doctor’s offices here, are starting to advertise flu shots in August now. We decided we would move our date up, so that people wouldn’t feel as though they should get their shots early elsewhere, perhaps for a fee, when they could get them at the Island clinic free of charge.”
The annual flu clinic provides an opportunity for all Vineyarders to get vaccinated and also is a medical emergency drill for the six Island towns to practice for a serious pandemic.
This year’s clinic is sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps, the six Island towns’ boards of health, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Vineyard Nursing Association, and Wampanoag Tribal Health Services, with support from the Island Councils on Aging, Dukes County government, and town police departments, Emergency Medical Services, and Emergency Managers.