Virginia Tech and the New River Health District will conduct a seasonal flu vaccination clinic on Friday, Dec. 3. The clinic will be open to the general public and will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rector Field House.

Parking will be available adjacent to the softball field near the intersection of Southgate Drive and Tech Center Drive. The Blacksburg Transit has a stop close to the Rector Field House via the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center route. Blacksburg Transit runs approximately every 15 minutes. Find more information online.

Those without insurance will receive the vaccine without charge. Those with healthcare insurance, the insurance will be billed; however, there will not be an additional charge over what the insurance provider will pay.

This clinic is for adults and children aged three years and up. The vaccine will be available in both nasal mist and injectable forms. To facilitate receiving the vaccination, please wear clothing that is loose around the arms so that the flu shot may be easily given in the upper arm.

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious (the virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear) and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person usually becomes sick in one to three days following exposure. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue. The influenza season in southwest Virginia usually peaks in January and February. Each year in the United States approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness, and flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000 each year -- averaging 24, 000 -- over the last three decades.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications,” said Dr. Jody Hershey, director of the New River Health District. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new recommendations for 2010 indicate that all persons over the age of six months should be vaccinated annually.”

Annual vaccination is especially recommended for the following high-risk groups

1. Persons at high risk for complications from the flu, including

  • Children ages six months to five years;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People 50 years of age and older;
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

2. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including

  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above);
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than six months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated); and
  • Health care workers.

For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Health online or call the New River Health District at (540) 381-7100.