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Stamford To Host Flu Shot Drive-Through Clinic

STAMFORD, CT — The city will host a drive-through clinic this weekend to provide flu shots to residents while they remain in their vehicle.

The drive-through clinic will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Stamford High School parking lot, located behind the building and adjacent to Hillandale Avenue. The entrance to the drive-through clinic will be on Fenway Street.

In an announcement, Mayor David Martin stressed the importance of residents getting a flu shot this year. (To sign up for Stamford breaking news alerts and more, click here.)

“It is especially important residents get a flu shot this year to avoid getting the flu and going to the hospital,” Martin said in a statement. “Flu shots are available at our health clinic, your personal doctor’s office or various pharmacies throughout the city. It only takes a minute and ensures you’ll be protected from the flu this season.”

According to Stamford Hospital’s chair of infectious diseases, Michael Parry, getting a flu shot is especially important this year as the flu and the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, have similar symptoms.

Typical flu symptoms include a fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and a dry cough, which generally differs from the common cold, according to city officials.

“Because influenza and COVID-19 present in very similar ways,” Parry said in a statement, “it is more important than ever to get a flu shot this year to minimize the risk of getting both infections.”

Further information about the drive-through clinic can be found here.

This article originally appeared on the Stamford Patch

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Will a flu shot protect you from coronavirus?

Health experts are urging people to get their flu shot this year as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are once again on the rise.

But could getting a flu shot also protect you from COVID-19? No, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“While it would be nice, there’s no evidence that flu shots can protect you from COVID-19, an entirely different disease,” ADPH said in a Facebook post.

That doesn’t mean you should skip the flu vaccine, however.

“The flu shot can help protect you from having the flu, which results is hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations a year and thousands of deaths. Plus, with the continued spread of COVID-19, experts warn that without proper precautions, we could experience a “twindemic” of both flu and COVID-19,” ADPH added.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends people get vaccinated before flu season starts and begins to spread in your community. It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the body.

The CDC recommends people get vaccinated by the end of October. The flu vaccine is recommended for:

  • Everyone 6 months or older
  • High risk groups including young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions and people age 65 and older.
  • Healthcare workers
  • Caregivers for people in high risk groups or for infants younger than 6 months old

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Tribal Communities Use This Medicine To Cure Flu Among Chickens

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims

Coronavirus may live much longer than the flu virus on smartphone screens

The virus that causes COVID-19 can stay active on smooth surfaces like smartphones, metal surfaces and paper money for much longer than the flu virus, according to researchers from Australia’s national science agency. They found that it can remain viable for up to 28 days, albeit in a very controlled environment. Under the same conditions, the influenza virus remains infectious for just 17 days, according to the study.

The team said the research proves that the coronavirus is “extremely robust” compared to other viruses. “These findings demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible,” the study concludes. (Cloth and other porous surfaces can carry infectious virus for just half the time, or around 14 days.)

While it shows the importance of cleaning and disinfecting phones and other surfaces, the study comes with some large caveats. It was conducted at a constant 68 degree F temperature in dark conditions to negate the effects of UV light, far from real-world conditions. The experiment also didn’t use fresh mucous — normally present with viruses on surfaces — which contain white cells and antibodies. “In my opinion infectious viruses will only persist for hours in mucus on surfaces rather than days,” Cardiff University professor Ron Eccles told the BBC.

Recently, experts have also downplayed the risk of coronavirus transmission from surfaces. According to the center for disease control (CDC), “spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.” Rather, the most common vectors are respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing. New guidelines also suggest that it can also be transmitted by airborne transmission in “poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise.”

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‘Twindemic’ test: Massachusetts, many colleges mandate winter flu shots

“This is a brave new experiment by the state of Massachusetts,” said Lawrence Gostin, who heads a university-based center on health law that serves as an official collaborating institute with the World Health Organization. “If it turns out to be a wholesale success, that should influence other states to go a similar route, not just with flu but with other vaccines. But if it causes a backlash and only marginal benefit, states might be hesitant to adopt that model in the future.”

In New Jersey, Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in the state Legislature late last month that would mandate flu shots for kids in preschool through college. Vermont public health officials also have been considering a vaccine order of their own.

Early evidence suggests the pandemic is widening a nationwide vaccination gap. Preliminary data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show vaccination rates for typically given shots dropped by 22 percent this spring compared to last year, among young children enrolled in Medicaid and the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Fewer than 50 percent of adults opt to get vaccinated against the flu in a typical season, a rate CDC Director Robert Redfield hopes to elevate to 65 percent this season.

While states have “the absolute right” under the Constitution to require vaccinations, Gostin said, the stakes are still high for officials who want to expand flu immunity without aggravating anti-vaccine tensions.

“There are a lot of my colleagues, and me included, that worry there’s such large numbers of people in the United States that are vaccine-hesitant or even outright anti-vaxxers, that a mandate might create a vicious backlash not only against influenza vaccines but all vaccines. So, you have to tread very carefully,” said Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

Before Massachusetts’ move, Gostin found that no state required influenza vaccinations for adults or K-12 students. Only a handful of states require flu shots for kids enrolled in childcare or preschool, according to the Immunization Action Coalition, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommend the vaccine for children older than 6 months.

Supply isn’t the issue. Flu vaccines are inexpensive, easy to find and often effective. But experts say time is running short before the annual flu season accelerates in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Many places have already gotten their supply of vaccines. They just need people to take it,” said Tina Tan, a Chicago pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine. “This month is going to be the critical month to try and implement these types of mandates and get people vaccinated.”

Tan said flu shot requirements for school kids did not catch on before now for two main reasons: Doses are often unavailable when students start classes each school year, plus there are misconceptions that the flu shot is unsafe.

In Massachusetts, the governor has defended the flu shot mandate but acknowledged “some people are troubled” by a sweeping requirement that follows

Montgomery County Public Health District urges flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic

The Montgomery County Public Health District is urging residents to get vaccinated for the flu and is currently taking appointments for children with adult bookings coming soon.

“This year, it’s even more important with COVID because the signs and symptoms of COVID are very similar to that of the flu,” said Alicia Williams, MCPHD’s public health director.

Looming over this flu season is the possibility of there being a confluence with COVID-19. And that can happen, Williams said as she pointed to a full hospital capacity due to COVID-19 in July.

“We don’t want to have that situation if we can prevent it. And getting a flu shot is one way we can prevent it,” she said, signaling a strain on supplies, nurse and space capacity brought on by flu hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, there are 61 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, including 18 in ICU, according to the Montgomery County Hospital District.


“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

MCHPD is booking appointments for free vaccines for children 6 months to 18 who are either uninsured, have Medicaid, or lack coverage. Vaccinations for children without insurance are being billed at $10, with waivers available for those who cannot pay.

Unlike in years past, this year, MCHPD is vaccinating adults who are privately insured and with comorbidities or are part of a high-risk group like the elderly. Those who do not qualify can pay the $10 fee with available waivers.

The vaccine includes the four most common and prevalent flu strains and is applied through injection. Williams explained taking the vaccination during the fall is most effective because that is right ahead of the peak season, usually at the end of the year.

Aside from the danger of a contagion intensified by COVID-19, Williams wants to remind people the flu can cost them work productivity, wages and school time. A vaccine, she continued, could avoid that.

Furnished by the State of Texas, there is currently no shortage of vaccines, according to Williams.

If people do not get vaccinated through MCPHD, Williams is still encouraging the general public to get a vaccine at pharmacy chains offering it. She also wants people to understand the mild aching and fever they may experience from the vaccine does not mean they have the flu, but rather that their immune system is activating antibiotics.

And to that effect, MCHD paramedics were vaccinated last week. Additionally, MCHD will be carrying out flu shots on Meals on Wheels recipients.

“Ideally (mask usage) would reduce the spread of COVID, but it would also reduce the spread of flu,” she said, while also highlighting the importance of social distancing. “Our goal here is prevention, and that’s across the board for public health. One way we can do

Napa County Announces Free Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics

NAPA COUNTY, CA — As part of ongoing efforts to prevent a “twindemic” of coronavirus and seasonal influenza, Napa County Public Health is hosting a series of free drive-up flu shot clinics.

“We urge our residents to get vaccinated against the flu now to protect yourself and others, which is especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Public Health Officer. “The flu can look very similar to COVID-19 and can cause a fever, cough, body aches, chills, and other symptoms.”

Flu vaccination reduces the burden of flu but also can preserve health care resources for care of patients with COVID-19, the county said.

The free drive-thru flu shot clinics are scheduled to start Monday, Oct. 12 and continue at various locations throughout the county, including Calistoga, St. Helena, Napa and American Canyon, through Nov. 9.

Free Drive-Thru Flu Clinic Schedule:

The county said no appointments are necessary. Face coverings must be worn, and patients must be symptom-free to get the shot. Limited walk-up vaccines are available, the county said. Call 707-253-4270 with any questions.

This article originally appeared on the Napa Valley Patch

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Patient Safety Authority Launches Statewide Campaign “Knock out the Flu, PA”

Patient Safety Authority Launches Statewide Campaign “Knock out the Flu, PA”

PR Newswire

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 8, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Patient Safety Authority (PSA) has kicked off Knock out the Flu, PA—a comprehensive campaign that urges Pennsylvanians to get a flu shot.

A new white board video explains in simple terms the science behind the flu shot and its benefits, while debunking common myths: No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, and yes, you need one every year.
A new white board video explains in simple terms the science behind the flu shot and its benefits, while debunking common myths: No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, and yes, you need one every year.

The advocacy effort includes a whiteboard video that explains in simple terms the science behind the flu shot and its benefits, while debunking common myths: No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, and yes, you need one every year. A social media campaign featuring influencers and everyday citizens is also underway. All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to join the flu shot challenge by getting vaccinated and posting a photo with the hashtag #KnockOutTheFluPA.

Last year in Pennsylvania, there were 130,000 influenza cases. While some cases are mild, many lead to hospitalization or death. Fighting the flu also weakens your immune system, which increases susceptibility to other illnesses, like COVID-19. That’s why the flu shot is more important now than ever. October and November are ideal months to get it to keep you protected through the whole flu season.

“Our immune systems are already strained by the stress of the pandemic and our healthcare system can’t take another battle, especially one that can be prevented or significantly knocked back,” says Regina Hoffman, PSA executive director. “Getting a flu shot also makes it less likely that you’ll give the virus to someone else. We urge every Pennsylvanian to do their part.”

Flu Shots are Readily Available
Most insurance companies cover the cost of a flu shot, which are available at physicians’ offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, and clinics throughout the Commonwealth. Find locations here.

For those who don’t have insurance, several county and city health departments and health systems are offering or are planning free clinics. Among them:

Allegheny County 
Allentown Health Bureau 
Bethlehem Health Bureau
Central PA – Geisinger Health System 
Lehigh Valley Health Network 
Montgomery County 
Philadelphia 
Wilkes-Barre Health Department

Established under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act of 2002, the PSA, an independent state agency, collects and analyzes patient safety data to improve safety outcomes and help prevent patient harm. http://patientsafety.pa.gov/

Cision
Cision

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SOURCE Patient Safety Authority

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2014 seal flu outbreak illustrates threat of avian flus to mammals

Oct. 7 (UPI) — Scientists have identified the genetic mutations that allowed an avian flu strain to adapt to mammalian transmission, triggering an outbreak among European seals.

In 2014, an avian flu strain spread rapidly among harbor and gray seals in northern Europe, killing roughly a tenth of the population.

For the new study, published Wednesday in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, researchers exposed ferrets to different strains of H10N7, the virus subtype responsible for the 2014 seal flu outbreak.

Scientists found most avian flu strains failed to infect the ferrets, but that seal-adapted strains were successfully transmitted via the air from ferret to ferret.

The study suggests avian flu can regularly and repeatedly acquire mutations that make them more transmissible among mammals.

“Usually, these occasional introductions of avian influenza viruses in seals, like in humans, are ‘dead ends’ because the virus is not transmissible from one individual to another,” first study author Sander Herfst said in a news release.

“However, sometimes these viruses adapt to the new host and acquire the ability to be transmitted between individuals,” said Herft, an assistant professor of molecular virology and virus evolution at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Researchers suspect the 2014 outbreak, which killed some 2,500 seals, began in western Sweden when one or more seals came into contact with infected birds or virus-laden bird droppings.

“Transmission from seal to seal is likely to have occurred via aerosols or respiratory droplets, most probably whilst the seals are resting on land,” said Herfst. “However, direct contact transmission between seals can also not be excluded because seals are highly social and interact with each other regularly.”

Lab tests showed the same strains found spreading among seals were able to spread among ferrets.

“The seal-adapted virus was efficiently transmitted through the air via aerosols or droplets between ferrets, whereas the avian virus was not,” Herfst said. “These findings suggest that the mutations the avian virus underwent once it took hold within the seal population have allowed it to become transmissible via the air between mammals.”

Comparisons of avian flu strain genomes and mammal-adapted strains revealed changes to the genes responsible for the regulation of hemagglutinin, a protein on the surface of influenza viruses.

Researchers found the mutations caused the virus to prefer to attach to mammal virus receptors in the respiratory tract, rather than to avian receptors.

Because the strains isolated for the study were collected late in the 2014 outbreak, scientists suggest the mutations may have occurred after the virus was already spreading among seals.

“The mutations that we identified are similar to the ones acquired in 1957 in the first year of the H2N2 pandemic in humans,” Herfst said. “In addition, these same mutations were required to render highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N1 subtype transmissible via the air between ferrets — a model organism for mammal influenza research.”

The findings suggests influenza strains may regularly adopt mutations that enable spread among mammals, the researchers said.

By understanding

CMS Gives Hospitals 14 Weeks to Start Daily COVID, Flu Reports

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The federal government is giving hospitals 14 weeks to comply with daily reporting requirements for COVID-19.

Hospitals that fail to meet the requirements will be barred from participating in Medicare and Medicaid, as announced in late August in a final rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will send letters on October 7 to all 6200 hospitals that receive reimbursement from the two federal health programs informing them of how well they are doing now, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma on a press call. 

Verma would not give an estimate on how many hospitals are currently not compliant. But Deborah Birx, MD, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on the call that 86% of hospitals are currently reporting daily.

Federal officials on the call also announced that hospitals would have the option to begin reporting certain data on influenza starting October 19, but that it would become mandatory a few weeks later.

The reporting is important “to really ensure that we’re triangulating all data to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations, and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Birx said.

The federal government began a new hospital reporting system in April but did not require hospitals to participate until it quietly issued guidance in mid-July informing facilities that they should no longer report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The move perplexed many public health experts and epidemiologists, who expressed concern that asking hospitals to use a new data system during a pandemic could result in delays and lost information. The new HHS data collection site, HHS Protect, is being managed by a private contractor, not the CDC, which also raised alarms.

The final CMS rule issued in August went into effect immediately, without any chance for comment or revision. CMS said at the time that the pandemic was reason enough to skip over the normal bureaucratic process.

Hospitals were not pleased. But Verma claimed that since then CMS had been working with hospital organizations on enforcement.

“We’re going to do everything we can to facilitate reporting, including an enforcement timeline that will provide hospitals ample opportunity to come into compliance,” she said.

Hospitals that do not comply will get a notice every 3 weeks. Three weeks after the second notice, they’ll get weekly notices for a month, and a final termination notice at 14 weeks.

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), however, said their members were still not happy. “It is both inappropriate and frankly overkill for CMS to tie compliance with reporting to Medicare conditions of participation,” said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn in a statement. He called the CMS proposal “sledgehammer enforcement,” and said that the continuing data request might weaken hospitals’ response to the pandemic because it would divert time and money away from patient care.  

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of