Flu Shot Saturday Oct. 13

Knox County area residents have a chance to get a free flu vaccine when Rotary Club of Farragut hosts its annual Free Flu Shot Saturday.

This year, RCF is holding its event from 8 a.m. to noon — or until the serum runs out, Saturday, Oct. 13, at Farragut High School. The club joins five other clubs in holding a Flu Shot Saturday around the county.

The elderly, handicapped individuals and others with mobility issues do not even have to get out of their cars to get the flu shot.

“If someone is unable to go in the high school to get a shot, there will be someone at the curbside (to administer the vaccine),” RCF event chairman Mark Bialik said. Bialik has seen an increase in the number of attendees who have used the curbside service in the last five years while the total number of recipients has decreased.

“We average over 1,000 shots,” he said, adding the numbers were around 2,300 in both 2008 and 2009.

Bialik, who has coordinated the Farragut site since 2006, speculated the decrease was because people can get free shots at other locations.

While the club will ask for donations, the shots are free, he said.

“No one is required to make a donation,” Bialik added.

Donations are going to Knoxville News Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund, which provides food and toys to disadvantaged East Tennesseans during the holidays.

This marks the 27th year RCF has held Flu Shot Saturday.

“It was started in 1991 by Dr. Charlie Barnett, a Farragut Rotarian who continues to direct the public service event,” Bialik said, adding Barnett continues to oversee the vaccines.

University of Tennessee student nurses administer the flu shots.

“We will have at least one nurse — probably two or three, supervising,” Bialik said.

“We have staff members and volunteers (to help attendees fill out paperwork, ask for donations and coordinate curbside shots),” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Stephanie Myers, Howard Fass and a couple of qualified nurses will draw serum into syringes.

Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta recommends getting vaccinated early this fall, at least by the end of October. According to CDC, it’s impossible to predict what this flu season will bring.

“The latest iteration of the vaccine has been updated, so it’s a better match for the circulating strands of flu virus we’re most likely to encounter,” CDC stated on its website.

“(The flu vaccine) doesn’t completely prevent you (from the flu) because strains vary from year to year, but what we got last year caught most of the strains,” Bialik said. “We expect the same (result) this year.”