As the flu season escalates in Kentucky, two local pharmacies in Pikeville are working together this Saturday to make seasonal flu shots more accessible for locals.

Total Pharmacy Care and NOVA Pharmacy will host a drive-through flu shot clinic from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of First Baptist Church, located at 126 Fourth Street. Along with the influenza vaccine, the clinic will have other vaccinations available, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, meningitis, pneumonia and shingles.

Joel Thornbury, pharmacist at NOVA Pharmacy, said the two local pharmacies are coming together this weekend to help promote “preventative health care” by helping eliminate potential barriers for people who may be unable to get the flu shot.

“Our vaccination rate in this county is very poor, and it has been for many years,” Thornbury said. “If we do one this weekend, that will be a success to us, and we hope to eventually bring other pharmacies in with us so that we can all work together to promote preventative health in the area.”

During the clinic this weekend, people can receive the flu shot in their vehicles, and the process to complete paperwork and receive the flu shot will take about five minutes per person. By law, a written doctor’s order must be provided at the clinic this weekend before the flu vaccination can be administered to anyone younger than 11 years old, Thornbury said.

To receive the flu vaccine, the cost is $0 with most insurance or $29 without insurance. Cash or credit card is accepted.

“The flu shot prevents widespread outbreak of influenza,” said Tammy Riley, Pike County Health Department’s public health director. “While someone might be young and healthy and feel that flu is not a concern to them, even if they do catch the flu, they’re exposing maybe their elderly grandmother to the flu, or their neighbor whose health is compromised, or another family member who has health issues. It’s really the responsibility of all of us to be vaccinated for the overall health of the community.”

In 2017, 40.9 percent of adults were vaccinated in Kentucky, higher than the overall average percentage of adults vaccinated in the country at 37.1 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Tammy Riley, public health director for the Pike County Health Department, said that everyone older than 6 months should be vaccinated to prevent the spread of the flu. However, she said, some adults may choose not to get vaccinated because they view it as being an inconvenience or unimportant.

The flu season in Kentucky has entered its 39th week, and there have been 182 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Kentucky so far this season. As of the week of Sept. 28, Pike County has had 11 confirmed cases. Perry County has the highest county total in the state, with 53 confirmed cases. There have been zero deaths related to the flu so far in the state.

However, of the 182 confirmed cases statewide, 28 cases were confirmed during the week of Sept. 28 alone, which, Riley said, shows that the number of flu cases is escalating.

“All healthcare organizations are being proactive to promote and encourage flu vaccination,” Riley said.

Flu symptoms can include cough, fever or chills, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to getting the flu vaccination, other ways to help prevent the spread of the disease include washing hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and staying home when sick, according to the Center for Disease Control.

For more information on the flu clinic, contact NOVA Pharmacy at, (606)-432-2274, or Total Pharmacy Care at, (606)-433-0555. NOVA is located at 1330 South Mayo Trail, and TPC is located at 533 Hambley Boulevard.

The Pike County Health Department is located at 119 River Drive and open on Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment or for more information, call, (606)-437-5500.

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