Midland County Department of Public Health hosts vaccine clinics

Whether you love or hate winter, it’s lurking just around the corner. With the colder temperatures inevitably comes another season, a dreaded one: flu season. The Midland County Department of Public Health has ramped up its schedule of offerings to make sure local residents have an extra layer of protection against the disease. They’re hosting walk-in vaccination clinics to provide flu shots, COVID-19 boosters, and immunizations for other maladies including like shingles and pneumonia.
In addition to a senior walk-in clinic weekly, the department  is also providing mobile, on-the-go options, by meeting residents where they are across different neighborhoods. 

-On Thursday, Nov. 2, the department is hosting a flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Lee Twp. Fire Department (507 S. 9 MIle Road) from 4-6 p.m. 

-On Wednesday, Nov. 8, they’ll be at the Midland County Services Building (220 W. Ellsworth Street) from 12-5 p.m. 

-On Thursday, Nov. 9, the clinic will be at the Larkin Township Main Office (3027 North Jefferson Road) from 4-6pm.
The clinics provide vaccinations at no out-of-pocket cost for residents six months and older. To schedule an appointment or for more info, call 989-832-6380. 
Dr. Catherine Bodnar is the Medical Director for the Midland County Department of Public Health.
Dr. Catherine Bodnar is the medical director for the Midland County Department of Public Health. She’s been in her role since July 2018. Dr. Bodnar says vaccinations are important and an easy way to increase safety across the community. 

“Vaccinations, along with sanitation and clean drinking water are public health interventions that have really had the most impact on our health globally,” Dr. Bodnar says. “I think the estimate is something like vaccines have prevented six million deaths from vaccine-preventable disease annually globally.”

Although many are weary of hearing about COVID-19, Dr. Bodnar says updated boosters as well as flu shots are still a great way to protect yourself, your loved ones, During the 2021-2022 flu season, flu shots prevented an estimated 1.8 million cases of flu, 1 million medical visits for the flu, 22,000 hospitalizations, and 1,000 flu deaths. Flu and pneumonia (which is often caused by the flu) are ranked among the top 10 causes of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives. 
Vaccines provide protection against severe illness and the potential of having to be admitted into the hospital.
Dr. Bodnar reminds people to stay home if they are showing symptoms like fevers, aches, body chills, fatigue, sneezing, coughing, stuffy or runny noses and sore throats. Staying up to date with vaccines and staying at home can help prevent spreading the infection. 

“The thing that has been pretty well communicated through COVID is that the vaccines really help to reduce serious illness, hospitalizations and death from those diseases,” she says. “Even though you might get the flu or COVID, you can modify the severity of the illness. The CDC has a campaign this year that’s called From Wild to Mild, highlighting the way that the flu vaccine works.”

As an effort to protect vulnerable populations, including seniors, the Department hosts a walk-in clinic for adults ages 50 and older every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Midland County Department of Public Health. Residents can receive free vaccines for shingles, Tdap, pneumonia, hepatitis A, COVID-19, and flu. Most seniors can receive free vaccines from their Medicare Part D coverage. 

Vaccination clinics are being held at the Midland County Services Building.
Dr. Bodnar says other vulnerable populations include kids five years and younger, and also pregnant women.  “If we’re vaccinated, we may recover sooner, may be contagious for a shorter period of time, and therefore, have less potential to get other people sick,” she says. 

Typical reactions after vaccinations include soreness in the injection site, headache or mild body aches, and fatigue. Dr. Bodnar says although they can be inconvenient, these symptoms are still much more mild than the symptoms the flu brings on. People are encouraged to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at the same time.

“We’re all exposed to lots of things in the environment, way more things than what’s in a couple of vaccines, so it’s not like we’re flooding our immune system or anything,” she says. 

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.