It’s Vaccinate Week in Boston

The Boston Public Health Commission is offering free flu shots through Dec. 14th.

Flu shot image via shutterstock

Flu shot image via shutterstock

According to the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) there are 26 confirmed cases of influenza among Boston residents so far this season, and we are just getting started. This is similar to the number of cases seen at this time last year. But, Massachusetts has the highest rates of flu vaccinations in the nation, according to the CDC.

Despite the high number of vaccinations, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Walgreens, wants even more vaccinations to happen this month, a time, according the BPHC, when flu activity peaks in Boston. That’s why there will be free flu shots at a variety of clinics through December 14th.

“We want to remind people that this is the perfect time to get your flu vaccine and protect yourself and your loved ones over the holidays,” says Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of BPHC. “Thanks to the generous support of Blue Cross Blue Shield and Walgreens, we’re able to offer thousands of free vaccines to folks who might otherwise not be able to afford it. Flu season is unpredictable, and we saw how severe last year’s was. Getting vaccinated gives you the best chance of staying healthy this winter.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has donated free flu vaccinations for children, and 2,500 vouchers for free vaccinations for adults from Walgreens. In addition, BPHC has worked with all community health centers and teaching hospitals to arrange free walk-in clinics across Boston through December 14th.

Vaccinate Boston Week coincides with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Influenza Vaccination Week. You can find the free flu clinics here. Residents seeking a flu shot voucher from Walgreens are encouraged to call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 for more information. While the Walgreens vouchers are only redeemable for adults over the age of 18, other clinics across Boston are offering free vaccines to people of all ages.  The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months of age and older.

Health officials suggest the following tips to avoid getting sick or spreading germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. If water is not nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread easily this way.
  • As much as possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have a fever or feel ill, stay home.