By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • October 8, 2020
KATAHDIN REGION – Healthcare officials at Millinocket Regional Hospital stress that it is more important than ever to be vigilant about your health. To help with that the hospital’s medical practices are offering a flu shot clinic on Oct. 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Adult patients of Dr. Edward Dunstan, Melodie Needham, FNP-BC, Samantha Doe, APRN-FNP, and Kelly Gardner, PA-C are eligible for the clinic. Patients must have been seen by one of these providers within the last three years.
Historically speaking you only have to look at past practice to see the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu. This year the pandemic has only increased that importance exponentially.
“If you are very concerned about COVID having killed over one million people worldwide, please remember the Spanish flu of 1918 killed tens of millions worldwide,” Dr. Dunstan said. “The flu vaccine can prevent this from happening again, please get immunized just as I do yearly.”
Sewall explained that because the flu can spread so easily through respiratory systems it makes sense for citizens to take advantage of every option they have to fight against it.
“One of the main reasons flu shots are important is that we are going into a high season for transmission of respiratory illnesses including influenza. It is important we have all possible capacities optimized to be able to manage that which includes vaccination against the flu,” Sewall said.
To comply with social distancing requirements, the clinics will be held at each practitioner’s offices at MRH Primary Care and Family Medicine. Patients will be greeted at the door and will be required to wear a mask. Temperatures will be taken and a series of medical questions will be asked. Patient numbers will be limited in each office at one time.
MRH officials added that patients who already have an appointment with their providers can wait for those appointments to get their shots.
MRH CEO Dr. Bob Peterson said tens of thousands of people die from influenza every year with 34,000 dying in 2019 and 64,000 in 2018 and “every single one of these people caught the flu from someone else and most likely an unvaccinated person. These deaths could’ve been prevented if more Americans received an annual flu shot.”
Peterson went onto say that getting vaccinated is not just about you taking preventative measures for your own health but safeguarding the health of those around you.
“When I get the vaccine, I protect you from me and I protect me from you.” Peterson said. “This year, getting a flu shot is especially important. The CDC warns that a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and influenza (at the same time) may have devastating health consequences and increased deaths. Please protect yourself and your loved ones by doing the responsible thing – get that flu shot!”
Flu shots will also be given at MRH Walk-in Care on Main Street in East Millinocket during regular business hours Tuesday-Thursday 7 am. to 7 p.m.
About Millinocket Regional Hospital
Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH) is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital nestled at the base of Baxter State Park that provides vital healthcare services to those who live, work and play in the Katahdin Region. Beyond the friendly staff and award-winning patient care, MRH provides an impressive range of specialty and general services; with a recent expansion resulting in the addition of eight new specialties and a Walk-In Care facility. In 2018, MRH was awarded the Press Ganey ‘Guardian of Excellence Award’ for exceptional patient experience; a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement for hospitals who consistently perform within the top 5%. Providing jobs to approximately 250 people, MRH is the largest employer in the Katahdin Region and a crucial economic driver within its community. For more information, please visit www.mrhme.org or www.facebook.com/MillinocketRegionalHospital