VA Maryland Health Care System
Get the flu shot before the flu bug gets you
Despite the concern this time of year about getting a flu shot, the truth is that the flu shot saves lives. During the 2014-2015 flu season, people over 65 years old were hit especially hard with an uptick in hospitalizations, accounting for more than 60 percent of all hospitalizations across more than 122 cities. More sobering, the Center for Disease Control is already reporting a small number of flu outbreaks for the 2016-2017 flu season. The other stark truth about flu is that it can be fatal, killing about 49,000 people annually. The only safeguard against flu is getting vaccinated, and to this end, the VA Maryland Health Care System encourages all veterans to roll up their sleeves and get a flu shot.
"Veterans who are elderly and those with weakened immune systems should consider getting a flu shot as soon as possible," said Dr. Sandra Marshall, chief of staff at the VA Maryland Health Care System. "It’s easy to get a flu shot! You don’t need to make an appointment. Just show up to the Walk-In Clinics and roll up your sleeve or mention that you want a flu shot to your primary care provider during your appointment."
This year, Veterans can get a free flu shot at their local Walgreens until March 31, 2017. No appointment is necessary and VA electronic health records will be automatically updated to reflect that Veterans got their shots. Veterans wanting a free flu shot from Walgreens must present their VA Veterans Health Identification Card and another form of identification. As usual, Veterans can receive free flu shots at any of these facilities throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, beginning Oct. 3:
- Baltimore VA Medical Center - Lobby Flu Clinic, 2nd floor balcony, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Outpatient Clinics at Perry Point, Cambridge, Fort Meade, Glen Burnie, Loch Raven and Pocomoke City – Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Baltimore VA Annex - starting the week of October 10
Veterans can call the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Flu Information Line at 800-463-6295, ext.7273 for more information and also the Telephone Care Line 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 800-865-2441. If Veterans receive a flu shot at a non-VA-health care facility other than Walgreens, please let your health care providers know so that they can update medical records.
In short, get the flu shot before the flu gets you.