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Free flu shots at Meridian Park on Veterans Day

Every year, the flu comes, and every year, it’s a little bit different than it was the year before.

On Tuesday, Legacy Health is providing free flu shots at multiple clinics, including at Meridian Park Medical Center’s Community Health Education Center, 19300 S.W. 65th Ave. For the event, the vaccines are not pulled from the hospital’s reserves — they are specific to the individual clinics.

“Anyone can get the flu. Because it’s a respiratory illness spread through coughing and sneezing, you have to be exposed to the infection,” said Sean Harper, a family physician with Legacy Medical Group in Tualatin. “If you’re living in a cave, you’re pretty safe, but when you go to the store, it’s on the cart and in the line and in the change you get.”

Harper went on to say that even if you’re not a person who generally comes down with the flu, it’s still important to get vaccinated. He said that if you’re not usually sick, it’s probably because you’re the carrier and spreading it to those around you.

“I think it’s good to protect yourself,” he said. “If you’re a healthy individual who never gets sick, you can still get the flu.

“You might never have bad symptoms, but you can spread it. If you get the vaccine, you’re less likely to get the infection, then less likely to make someone else sick. I still wear a seatbelt even though I haven’t been in a car accident lately.”

Since the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect and make the antibodies necessary to protect you, it’s important to get the shot sooner rather than later. If you get vaccinated today, and come into contact with the infection tomorrow, you’re at risk for getting sick, Harper said. For that reason, it’s important to be proactive.

“The vaccine creates a response in your body so that when you get infection, you have response to fight it off,” he said.

Harper also pointed out that there is no chance of getting sick from the vaccine itself. The shot doesn’t contain any live viruses, and live viruses are what’s required to get sick. So, if you come down with a cough the same day you get vaccinated, it is pure coincidence.

Remember that it is especially important for the elderly and very young (babies and toddlers), and for anyone with a weakened immune system to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as these individuals are at higher risk to die from influenza symptoms.

Quick facts

What: Veterans Day Free Community Flu Shots

When: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 7 to 11 a.m.

Where: Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center Community Health Education Center, 19300 S.W. 65th Ave.

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