Free flu shot appointments ‘going fast’

WESTFIELD – City officials with the Westfield Council on Aging and Westfield Health Department are teaming up for a first time drive-through flu clinic because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m sure that we’ll run into some unforeseen issues, but we don’t anticipate any major problems,” said Tina Gorman, executive director, Westfield Council on Aging, adding both departments are planning to the best of their abilities.

The free flu clinics are slated for Oct. 6 and 7 at the Westfield Senior Center and early registration is advised with clerk Mary Cohutt at the Council on Aging office. Cohutt can be reached weekdays by calling (413) 562-6435. Individuals 60 and older will be asked to provide their name, address, telephone number, and date of birth.

The deadline to make a flu clinic reservation is Sept. 18.

“We are scheduling five individuals every 15 minutes,” said Gorman. “Participants will need to stick with the schedule and not arrive early or late.”

Gorman noted that everyone making an appointment will receive a confirmation letter with the date and time of their appointment, the traffic flow procedure, the type of clothing to wear, and a directive regarding mandatory face masks.

“We will also remind individuals to stay home if they are not feeling well or are in quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus,” said Gorman.

Traditionally, a clinic has been conducted at the senior center during the first week of October with 80 flu shots available.

“This year we have increased that number to 100,” said Gorman, noting that supervising public health nurse Debra Mulvenna has spearheaded the clinic for many years. “The appointments are going fast so those who are interested should call as soon as possible.”

Gorman added that city residents have also inquired about flu shot options including a high dosage shot.

“When individuals call to schedule an appointment, Mary will provide the options that are available,” said Gorman. “Deb will have a limited number of regular dosage shots available to those who are under 65. Everyone else will receive the high dosage shot.”

Gorman noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic “rages on,” a flu shot is “more important than ever this year.”

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