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Drive-thru flu shot clinics latest weapon in COVID-19 battle

“It’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, make sure you prevent the disease that you can prevent right now, and that’s influenza.”

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — The latest in drive-up health care has now become the latest weapon in the battle against COVID-19 and its potential ally: the seasonal flu.

On Friday, drivers lined up at the HealthPartners Park Nicollet St. Louis Park Clinic for a literal shot at the clinic’s flu shot clinic. HealthPartners is offering several options for the community to get a shot, from drive-up clinics to in-clinic appointments. Those interested can learn more here.

“We’re really trying to encourage people to get their flu shots this year. We think it’s going to be really important, not that it isn’t every year, but particularly this year with COVID going on, we want to have people be protected from influenza,” said Dr. Shannon Neale, Family Medicine Physician at HealthPartners.

The latest flu shot outreach comes as health experts warn that a flu-coronavirus combination could prove challenging for both our vulnerable populations and our health care system.

“If we do have influenza, a severe influenza year on top of COVID, it could really stress the health care systems and really increase the number of people who are severely ill and dying,” said Jennifer Heath, a supervisor with the vaccine preventable disease section of the Minnesota Department of Health.

Heath noted there is hope – the Southern Hemisphere has seen a milder flu season – but she cautions that the United States has not always followed global trends when it comes to COVID-19. She also noted that it’s not yet clear how a double diagnosis could threaten a person’s health.

“There’s a few studies out there. So we do know that it is possible, those studies have documented severe disease or hospitalization,” she said.

But what is clear, she notes, is that continuing all the preventative actions – handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks and staying home if you’re sick – and now, the flu vaccine, could prove critical in the months ahead.

“It’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, make sure you prevent the disease that you can prevent right now, and that’s influenza,” she said.

To learn more about the upcoming HealthFair 11 and UCare drive-thru Flu Fighter Clinic on Sept. 25-27 at the state fairgrounds, just click here.