EMS agency launches on-site flu vaccine clinic program
Groups of 10 or more can schedule an appointment to have MedStar come to a place of their convenience and administer flu vaccinations
By Stephen English
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH, Texas — Last flu season, MedStar responded to more than 1,100 flu-related 911 calls, getting up to 20 per day during the peak of flu season from November into March, spokesman Matt Zavadsky said.
A bad flu season like that can cripple emergency services, he said.
"The ERs were packed, which impacted us," Zavadsky said. "It left less ambulances on the streets to respond to other calls."
The ambulance company would like to avoid that this time around, so it has introduced a new on-site flu vaccine clinic program.
Groups of 10 or more people—from "your office, home, (homeowners' association), church, wherever," Zavadsky said—can schedule an appointment to have MedStar come to a place of their convenience and administer flu vaccinations.
To schedule a mobile vaccination clinic, call 817-632-0522 or email MZavadsky@medstar911.org.
The shots will be $25 a person, and MedStar will bring documents for insurance claims, Zavadsky said.
The flu season began Oct. 1 and can run into May, he said, and the more people vaccinated, the fewer there are who end up calling 911 and being hospitalized.
The percentage of reported flu-like illnesses in Tarrant County skyrocketed last December, according to Tarrant County Public Health.
At the beginning of the month, the number of flu-like cases reported was average, near the baseline of 3.2 percent of patients seen in a sampling of emergency rooms and clinics. By the end of December it had climbed to 9 percent.
January saw the flu spread further, with the percentage climbing to almost 11 percent.
The same month, Tarrant County hospitals reported three flu-related deaths.
In the latest report compiled by the public health agency, covering Sept. 23-29, the percentage of reported flu-like illness had increased slightly, from 1.2 percent to 1.6 percent.
The national Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that during the 2017-2018 flu season, more than 800,000 people were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms and more than 80,000 died from flu.
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