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Out & About: Don’t be immune to flu warnings; find Upper Valley flu clinics

  • Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 9/21/2019 10:18:17 PM
Modified: 9/27/2019 11:46:48 AM

As the colder weather approaches, so does flu season.

Each year, health care organizations hold public flu clinics throughout the Upper Valley to help residents of all ages get vaccinated.

“We were very happy with our flu clinics last year and how many people we were able to vaccinate,” said Alice Ely, director of the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley, adding that about 1,200 people received vaccinations during the nonprofit’s five clinics events.

Last year’s flu season, which lasted 21 weeks, was the longest flu season in a decade, said Christine Finley, immunization program manager for Vermont Department of Health.

“It’s really challenging because they’re variable from year to year,” Finlet said. “We don’t know what the flu season is going to be like until we get into it.”

It began in November, peaked in mid-February and finished up in mid-April. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked it as “moderate severity.”

One reason it lasted so long was two different strains of the flu that came into play: H1N1 H2N3, said Dr. Ben Chan, New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist.

“Typically, we have more severe flu seasons when the prominent strain of the virus that’s circulating is H3N2,” Chan said. “Because of changes in the circulating influenza viruses that are out there, this year’s vaccine has changes to both of those virus strains. This year’s influenza vaccine contains a different H1N1 and H3N2 virus strain it protects against and will hopefully offer better protection than last year’s.”

The vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it can lessen the severity of the virus, according to Ely.

“It makes us a little more resilient to the illness. We might not get as sick. We might not stay sick as long,” Ely said. “The other way to think about the flu vaccine is protecting those around us who might be more vulnerable. What I believe is we’re doing this so we help our entire community. We don’t just help ourselves.”

While the CDC and public health officials recommend a flu shot for everyone 6 months and older without medical restrictions on vaccination, it’s especially important for adults age 65 and up; children younger than age 2; women who are pregnant; and people with asthma, blood disorders, heart disease and other conditions, as well as people with weakened immune systems and those who live in long-term care facilities.

People ages 18-49 tend to have lower flu vaccination rates, Finley said.

“I think the variation in the effectiveness from year to year does create a barrier,” she said. “There’s some misinformation out there. We continue to hear ‘I don’t want to get the flu from the flu vaccine.’ You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.”

The best time to get the vaccine is in October. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective once it’s in your system. In addition to getting the flu shot, people should take other precautions to prevent the spread of the virus including washing their hands, covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing, and staying home from work or school if they are sick, Chan said.

“If I’m sick and not taking care of myself and I make someone else sick because of that, then that’s on me,” Ely said. “I do think there are a lot of folks who think the flu isn’t a big deal, and for many of us it’s not. The concern is for folks for whom it is a big deal.”

Editor’s note: For more information about the flu, visit

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

Here is a list of flu clinics coming up in the Upper Valley. Clinics are free unless otherwise noted.

Public Health Council
of the Upper Valley:

Thursday, Oct. 10, 4-7 p.m., Enfield Community Building, 308 Route 4, Enfield.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 4-7 p.m., Plainfield Elementary School, 92 Bonner Road, Meriden.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 4-7 p.m., Vermont Law School, Yates Common Room, 164 Chelsea St., South Royalton.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 4-7 p.m., Orford Congregational Church, Route 10, Orford.

■Thursday, Oct. 31, 4-7 p.m., Mascoma Community Health Center, 18 Roberts Road, Canaan.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center: Park in the main entrance parking lot at 1 Medical Center Drive and go to the information desk. Adults and children 9 and older who are not afraid of needles will be immunized in the auditoria. Children less than 9 years of age or afraid of needles will be immunized at reception 3D. 603-653-3731.

Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 603-653-3731.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Aging Resource Center: Open to adults and children 9 and over who are not afraid of needles. The vaccine for people over 65 will be available. 46 Centerra Parkway. 603-653-3460.

Friday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire: Free with Medicare cards or $25 cash or check. 888-300-8853.

Monday, Oct. 7, 1:30-5:30 p.m., Lyme Congregational Church, 1 Dorchester Road, Lyme.

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Strafford Senior Center, Barrett Memorial Hall, 248 Route 132, Strafford.

Friday, Oct. 11, 9 a.m.-noon, Springfield Senior Center, 139 Main St., Springfield, Vt.

Monday, Oct. 14, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Chelsea Senior Center, 13 North Common, Chelsea.

Monday, Oct. 14, 9 a.m.-noon, The Village at White River Junction, 101 Currier St., White River Junction.

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Randolph Senior Center, 6 Hale St., Randolph.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m.-noon, Thompson Senior Center, 99 Senior Lane, Woodstock.

Monday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m.-noon, Bugbee Senior Center, 262 N. Main St., White River Junction.

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice: For people 19 and older. Bring ID card(s) for Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Replacement Plans. If paying with cash or check, the cost is $35 for the regular dose and $80 for the high dose, which is recommended for people age 65 and older. 603-526-4077.

Monday, Sept. 30, 5-7 p.m., Newbury Library, 933 Route 103, Newbury, N.H.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-noon, Claremont Senior Center, 5 Acer Heights Road, Claremont.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 4-6 p.m., Springfield Town Offices, 2748 Main St., Springfield, N.H.

Friday, Oct. 4, 10:30 a.m -noon, Lyon Brook Community Association, 332 Parkside Road, New London.

Friday, Oct. 4, 1:30-3 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima Church, , 724 Main St., New London.

Monday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m.-noon, The Center at Eastman, 6 Clubhouse Lane, Grantham.

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-noon, Bradford Senior Center, 134 E. Main St., Bradford, N.H.

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 1-3 p.m., St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 52 Gould Road, New London.

Thursday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Hilltop Community, 1000 Hilltop Place, New London.

Monday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-noon, Sunapee Cove Assisted Living, 1250 Route 11, Sunapee.

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-noon, Upper Valley Senior Center, 10 Campbell St., Lebanon.

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1-4 p.m., Kearsarge Area Council on Aging, 37 Pleasant St., New London.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 4-6 p.m., South Newbury Union Church, 162 Village Road, Newbury, N.H.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m.-noon, Claremont Senior Center, 5 Acer Heights Road, Claremont.

Friday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-noon, Kearsarge Presbyterian Church, 82 King Hill Road, New London.

Monday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m.-noon, Sunapee Seniors at Lake Sunapee United Methodist Church, 9 Lower Main St., Sunapee.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Cornish Town Hall Senior Lunch, 488 Town House Road, Cornish.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Plainfield Elementary School, 91 Bonner Road, Meriden.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2-4 p.m., First Baptist Church, 461 Main St., New London.

Friday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Newport Senior Center, 76 S. Main St., Newport.

Monday, Oct. 28, 10-11:30 a.m., Mascoma Area Senior Center, 1166 Route 4, Canaan.

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Marion Phillips Apartments, 243 Broad St., Claremont.

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Earl M. Bourdon Centre, 67 Maple Ave., Claremont.

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Sugar River Mills apartments, 7 Heritage Drive, Claremont.

Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center: Bring your insurance card. For more information, visit 802-457-3030.


■Wednesday, Oct. 9, 5-6 p.m., Mount Ascutney Hospital, 289 County Road, Windsor.

■Saturday, Oct. 5, 9-11 a.m., Ottauquechee Health Center, 32 Pleasant St., Woodstock.


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