Facilites That Offer Free Flu Shots
VA Medical Center, 4101 Woolworth Ave, Omaha, Neb., 800-451-5796
VA Clinic, 2201 N. Broadwell Ave, Grand Island, Neb., 308-382-3660
VA Clinic, 600 S. 70th Street, Lincoln, Neb., 402-489-3802
VA Clinic, 600 E. Francis, Suite 3, North Platte, Neb., 308-532-6906
VA Clinic, 2501 Capehart Road (Ehrling Bergquist, lower level), Bellevue, Neb., 402-591-4500
VA Clinic, 710 S. 13th Street, Norfolk, Neb., 402-370-4570
VA Clinic, 1118 Burlington Street, Holdrege, Neb., 308-995-3760
VA Clinic, 512 S. Fremont, Shenandoah, Iowa. 712-246-0092
VA Clinic through Avera St. Anthony's Outreach Clinic, 555. E. John Street, O'Neill, Neb., 402-336-2982
For more detailed information about each locations services, click HERE for the release the Department of Veterans Affairs made regarding the campaign.
Grand Island, NE-- With winter right around the corner now, is the time to get the flu shot, especially for the young and elderly who are the most at risk for contracting the flu.
The Department of Veterans Affairs began its annual campaign Monday to give free flu shots to veterans at the VA Medical Facilities across the state. The theme for this year's campaign is "Infection: Don't Pass It On."
Eligible veterans are encouraged to go to the nearest VA facility to receive their flu shot.
This campaign begins every year around this time because October is the perfect time to get the vaccination.
The VA medical staff says getting it too soon can allow the vaccination to where off before flu season ends and getting the shot every year protects from new strains of the flu.
"The flu vaccine lasts only a year. The antibodies that you produce are for those strains from last year and since it's possible there are different strains the vaccine is new every year. So you need to produce new antibodies to help fight the influenza for this year," said Rita Czaplewski, a registered nurse, who is certified in infection prevention.
The risk of flu increases as winter gets closer and puts thousands at risk annually.
Czaplewski said, "Influenza can be a very serious respiratory disease that can lead to hospitalization. It's caused by a virus and every year tens of thousands of people die from influenza."
Now, VA Medical Facilities are offering free flu shots to all eligible veterans and employees.
"The flu clinic will run until we run out of vaccine or until the vaccine becomes outdated," said staff nurse Tom Stearley.
The VA has 10,000 doses that are spread through clinics in Grand Island, North Platte, Holdredge, O'Neill, Belview, and Norfolk.
The VA medical staff said that it's important to get the flu shot because it's better to spend a small amount of time at the VA Medical Center getting the shot as opposed to a much longer stay if, and when, you contract the flu.
"If you get your flu shot on a regular basis every year you have less of a chance of a serious illness or hospitalization related to the flu," said outpatient nurse Rosemarie King.
The medical staff said it is important for veterans to receive the vaccine because many already have other issues.
"It's important for everyone that's eligible to have a flu shot but especially, a lot of our veterans may be a little bit elderly or have co-morbidities or other factors that may predispose them to illness or make their immune system a little weaker," said King.
For a schedule of VA locations offering the shot, see the list on the right.
Veterans aren't the only one's who should get the flu shot. Medical officials say everyone should get it sooner rather than later. You can go to many local pharmacies to get your flu prevention.