Any stragglers who haven’t gotten their flu shots are welcome to so for free as Sweeny Community Hospital hosts two events.

Hospital staff will administer free flu shots to anyone 18 or older at West Columbia Health Clinic, 668 W. Brazos Ave, from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, hospital Public Affairs Director Tracie Copeland said.

Wednesday, the hospital will host another free flu shot clinic from 2 to 4 p.m. at the office of Dr. Richard Erickson, 303 N. McKinney St., Sweeny, Copeland said.

“It’s important to get your flu shot to protect yourself, your family, your loved ones, your coworkers, your friends from illness,” Copeland said.

The hospital is doing this a little later than other organizations, but there are probably some people who haven’t gotten their shots yet but want to, she said.

“Having a free opportunity to do so is a plus,” Copeland said.

Everyone should get a flu shot to protect the whole population but especially children, elderly people and pregnant women, said registered nurse Misty Linnett, who handles infection prevention for Sweeny Community Hospital.

“In my personal and professional experience, I feel like everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot,” Linnett said. “This is to help build antibodies in their system to help them from getting the flu.”

While the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, it builds antibodies so that if someone does get the flu, it should be of shorter length and without as many symptoms, she said. It can prevent hospitalization and long-term effects, she said.

There is a big misconception that the flu shot can make people sick a day or two later, Linnett said. If that happens, it’s because they had already been exposed, she said.

It takes 10 to 14 days to build up antibodies and prevent the flu, Linnett said.

It’s necessary to get a flu shot every year because the virus changes each year, she said.

Sweeny Community Hospital offering free flu shots, like other area hospitals have done, shows a concerted effort and concern for our community, Copeland said.

Flu season began in October and lasts through March, Linnett said.

“It’s never too late to get a flu shot,” she said.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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