In Northampton, the Public Health Director, Merridith Oleary, said that Boston Mayor Menino’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency in Boston prompted many in Northampton and surrounding areas to try and get vaccinated.
“It probogated a lot of phone calls to the health department about people wanting the vaccine who didn’t have it already, and they were having troubles locating it,” said Oleary.
The Northampton Public Health Office had roughly one-hundred vaccines left over, and they quickly worked to set up this free flu clinic on Saturday, where the leftover vaccine was distributed.
One family – Andrew, Linda, and their two young daughters, all of Florence – came to the free clinic for flu shots. But the parents were the only ones who needed them.
Vaccinating their daughters was a priority year after year, but they never thought it was necessary for one another. That all changed this flu-season.
“I didn’t get one, and my husband didn’t get one, and on the nineteenth I came down with the flu. I spent the next week in bed,” said Linda Ziegenbein.
Even when both Linda Andrew were sick with the flu, they credit the fact that their daughters had been vaccinated earlier in the year to the girls continuing to remain healthy. It was clear though, that they both needed to get vaccinated to prevent getting sick again.
“The flu is there and it’s widespread, so we’re here to avoid it,” said Linda.
Andrew added, “This year it seems like the strain of the flu is worse, so we decided we should do it too”.
Both agree that the free clinic helped to take the inconvenience out of actually getting vaccinated.
“The clinic is here and it’s free and it’s a couple blocks away from our house, so we really don’t have a reason not to do it,” said Andrew.
“It’s wonderful to have this because any hinderence to being able to get the flu shot…money, time…it’s just a wonderful, wonderful opportunity and it really says a lot about the community,” said Linda.
If you can’t find a clinic being offered in your area, vaccines are still being offered in most pharmacies for around thirty dollars a shot.
The free clinic today ran out of vaccine before the event wrapped up. Oleary said that many pharmacies in the Northampton area still had vaccines available for purchase though.