NORWALK, Conn. -- A walk-in medical center in Norwalk is thanking local military veterans for their service by offering them free flu shots.
AFC (American Family Care) Urgent Care will provide the shots from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at its clinic at 607 Main Ave., near the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Originally, the shots were only going to be offered on Veterans Day, but AFC’s Norwalk center decided to extend the program, said its owner, Ken Goldberg.
No appointment is needed.
Flu shots for the veterans', or active military members', spouses and children are $15, Goldberg said Thursday.
The urgent care provider, based in Birmingham, Ala., said the free flu shots are part of its efforts to prevent the disease’s spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention credits vaccination efforts such as the AFC’s with fewer outpatient visits, hospitalizations and deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia.
According to the AFC:
- There are 19.4 million veterans in the U.S., and approximately 750,000 of them have no insurance coverage.
- Veterans of the U.S. armed forces tend to be older and have more chronic health problems than the general adult population, which may place them at greater risk of complications from influenza.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a vaccination rate of 80 percent as the national goal for seasonal influenza vaccination. However, according to data from a survey released by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, only 49 percent of veterans received a flu vaccination.
- The prevalence of influenza vaccination among VA system users is about 75 percent, although about three-quarters of the U.S. veteran population does not use VA services.
- The flu costs the U.S. economy billions in health services use and lost productivity.
- Influenza-related diseases also cause an estimated 225,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually in the U.S., mostly among chronically ill or elderly people.
“With more than 160 medical centers in 26 states seeing more than 2 million patients a year, AFC deals with the flu as much or more than any other health care provider outside of the federal government, so we understand the impact it can have on our society,” said AFC spokesman Dr. Jeremy Allen.
“With dozens of clinics near military bases across the U.S., we also understand the effect the flu has on veterans and their families. So, we want to do everything we can to serve those who have served our country,” he added.
Veterans interested in obtaining a free flu shot on Friday are encouraged to visit AFCUrgentCare.com to find the nearest American Family Care clinic.
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