Flu shots gain popularity at VA Medical Center

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The flu season is in full swing, and an unusually high amount of flu shot patients has left the VA Medical Center in a temporary shortage.

"We've been absolutely thrilled with our veterans' response to the flu shot campaign this year," said Paul Sweeney of the Grand Junction VA Medical Center. "We've really given more than we've given in the past."

Close to 5,400 Mesa County residents have made their way to the VA Center, compared to 6,000 during last year's entire flu season. All in all, it's a good sign for the community.

"It's really important to protect not only yourself but those around you as well," said Karen Martsolf, PIO for the Mesa County Health Department.

And for one local nurse and mother of three, she knows how crucial it is to stay protected during the flu seasons.

"I'm a mom, and I work in a pediatric office," she said. "I'm seeing the severity of the flu itself, and I just think that it's really important. My kids have gotten the flu shot since they were six months old."

While some may feel that the flu shot is not necessary, the risks could carry great consequences.

"We do see hospitalizations every year, and some years we have fatalities from complications from influenza," said Martsolf.

Last year, Mesa County had a total of 24 hospitalizations, the year prior, 30, and Martsolf strongly believes this higher number can be prevented.

"[The vaccine] is really the best way to protect yourself," she said.

Meanwhile, the VA Medical Center eaglery awaits their third shipment of the flu shot in order to get veterans ready for the season.

"The community is taking the flu shot seriously," said Sweeney, "and they're getting it."

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