ASHLAND, Ore. -- Jackson County Library Services teamed up with Wellness 2000 to distribute Covid-19 vaccines and flu shots following the mandate for Covid-19 vaccination, or weekly testing, for all staff during the JCLS Board of Directors meeting on August 18, 2021.
On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, JCLS hosted a flu & Covid-19 vaccine clinic at the Ashland Library and Rogue River Library.
Other Jackson County vaccine clinics this week will be at Medford Library on Friday, September 24 from 11:30–1:00 p.m and Eagle Point Library on Friday, September 24 from 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Upon patients' arrival to the vaccine clinic in Ashland on Tuesday, there was some confusion as to whether or not the flu shot was free.
On the JCLS website, it is explained that free flu shots are available with Regence BlueCross BlueShield, PacificSource, Kaiser, Medicare, and Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan (OHP).
Those with other medical insurers will pay a fee of about $35. However, the Covid-19 vaccine is free regardless on health insurance status.
When Newswatch 12 asked the JCLS Human Resources Specialist, Marlena Fajardo about the difference between getting vaccinated at a library and a normal medical clinic, she said it was a matter of comfort.
"There are a lot of great clinics made available in our community, but many of our patrons are at home service individuals, or just have an easier time going to the library. It's a highlight of their day. They feel close to the staff and feel comfortable, something that, for a lot of folks, is kind of scary. It's a personal decision."
Fajardo said, "We just kind of wanted to remove that barrier of access and increase turn out for the shot."
Newswatch 12 also discussed flu season with the Medical Director of Jackson County Public Health, Dr. Jim Shames.
He said, "In general flu season is from about now, kind of early fall, until about the middle of spring. But the average flu season, when it's really intense, when it comes in and effects a lot of people at the same time in your community, usually is around late November, December."
Shames says that time frame would be considered the peak, but he explains to Newswatch 12, like Covid, the flu can mutate, allowing the flu to be spread at any time.
"The flu vaccine is not as effective, for example as the Covid vaccine, which is remarkably effective, but the beauty of the flu shot is that if you can get enough people to get it, it will reduce the possibility of influenza spreading for the entire community."
He says Jackson County will continue to make flu shots readily available as they receive the dosages, whether they are at clinics or your regular doctor's office.
When we asked Dr. Shames about his thoughts on quarantining while sick with the flu, he said last year the county had remarkable success with people staying healthy since they stayed home, wore masks, and socially distanced.
"It really reduced lots of other diseases at the same time. Last year, we had almost no flu season."
Shames said, the lesson for everyone is that the mitigation strategies used for Covid-19 are effective for other transmissible diseases and asks people to apply that understanding to the flu.
Those unable to attend JCLS vaccine clinics this week can visit https://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/Environmental-Public-Health/Welcome for other vaccine options.