Jenny German is not taking any chances with the flu this year.
"I don't want to get sick again like I did last year."
German says she caught the flu, then spread it to loved ones. So, when she heard Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) and Valle del Sol were offering free flu shots at Isaac Middle School this month, she brought the whole family to get vaccinated.
“I don’t want to make them sick; I don’t want that.”
Vianey Garcia has a similar story. Easy access to the flu shot was appealing.
“I came out today because it’s free and we also thought it was important to come get it as soon as possible to prevent further diseases and stuff. I did get it last year and I’m here with my parents and my little sister. “
Garcia played with her little sister as they approached the registration table. The staff asked if she preferred to speak in English or Spanish.
MCDPH is holding dozens of free flu shots event across the region this fall. The department is partnering with non-profits, pharmacies, hospital systems, cities and towns, homeowner associations, fire departments, and faith-based communities to get vaccine to everyone. The focus is on communities that do not have access to flu vaccine including those without health insurance, or who have no vaccine coverage, and those who are experiencing homelessness.
At free community vaccination events, medical staff work quickly to get participants processed while adhering to strict COVID-19 safety protocols including a mask requirement, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, maintaining six feet of distance, and staff use of personal protective equipment.
At Isaac Middle School, Medical Assistant Freddy Diaz commented, “I do my job because I love to protect people.” You could hear the passion in his voice and could tell he was smiling, even through his mask. When a participant looked nervous, he calmly said, “It won’t hurt. It will feel like a mosquito bite. Take a deep breath with me.”
German’s family was vaccinated in less than ten minutes and while they waited the mandatory 15 minutes for observation, they discussed where to go for Grandpa to make good on a promise of burgers and fries after the flu shot. For German, that was a bribe well worth the peace of mind knowing her family will be protected throughout the entire flu season.
Maricopa County Public Health encourages residents to get vaccinated now, before the flu is circulating widely. By getting the flu vaccine, you are helping reduce the stress that influenza puts on the healthcare system while COVID-19 is still spreading in the community.
Find more information and options for getting your flu shot, including free community flu vaccination events, when you visit Maricopa.gov/flu . Protecting yourself and others is worth a shot!