Riverside health provider offers free flu shots at drive-in clinic, hopes to avoid possibility of 'twindemic' - contracting both seasonal flu, coronavirus

Flu season is right around the corner and one Riverside health provider wants people to get flu shots early to fight the virus during the COVID epidemic.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- California is leading the nation in coronavirus cases, with more than 700,000 reported. And now as flu season looms, health officials worry about the possibility of a "twindemic" - people contracting both viruses, which could overwhelm hospitals once again.

Riverside County is working proactively. Health plan provider, Health Net, hosted a free drive- thru flu shot clinic on Monday at the Janet Goeske Center.

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Health officials are urging Californians to get flu shots this year as the state continues dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's actually the first of its kind. Due to COVID, this is the first time we do any type of drive-thru flu shot, so we had to innovate a little bit since our doors are closed," said Linzey Ledesma, a Janet Goeske rep.

For many who are uneasy about going to a doctor's office or clinic under these circumstances, this drive-thru provides some relief.

"I wanted to get it done as soon as possible just because I'm a nurse and I know that the sooner you get it the better," said Gayle Meehan. "And of course the drive thru so we weren't being exposed by going into a clinic anywhere."

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Students, faculty and staff in the University of California system will be required to get a flu vaccination before Nov. 1, part of a system-wide executive order as a precaution to minimize the flu amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to the CDC, individuals 6 months and older should receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu can cause serious illness, hospitalization and in some cases death.

Last year, California saw an increased number in flu cases and local health officials say the best protection is to get the vaccine.

Health Net says it is planning to hold more flu shot drive thru clinics in the future, though future dates have not been scheduled as of yet.

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