St. Joseph’s Hospital offered the first of its “Drive-By” Flu Clinics on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011.  Participants were able to obtain flu shots easily by signing consent forms and receiving the shot, all while remaining in their vehicles.  The Drive-By Flu Clinic will also be offered on Wednesdays, September 21 and 28 between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm outside the main entrance to the hospital.  

            The flu shot is available to anyone over the age of six years.  One shot encompasses Influenza A and B and the HINI viruses.  There are no out-of-pocket expenses for those with a valid Medicare card.  Cost for all others is $20.  For those individuals who are home-bound, shots are available through St. Joseph's Hospital Home Health department.  To schedule a shot for home-bound individuals, call 304-473-6800.

            Three cases of Influenza A (H3N2) were recently identified in residents of southwestern Pennsylvania in association with attendance at the Washington County Fair.   The virus is spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions and is especially dangerous for young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with existing medical conditions.  The vaccination is also extremely important for people who are in contact with those at greatest risk.

            Each year thousands of people die from influenza and even more require hospitalization.  The public is urged to get the vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves and others.