Thanks to a series of free vaccine clinics held throughout the communities it serves, Riverside is pleased to announce that 2,038 patients will enter this flu season better protected from the virus.

As part of its mission to support the community and keep people as healthy as possible, over the last two months, Riverside hosted a series of drive-thru and walk-up free flu shot clinics throughout the Virginia Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, greater Williamsburg, Eastern Shore and Northern Neck regions.

“It was critically important this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for Riverside to ensure that as many people as possible received added protection from this flu season,” said Bill Downey, Riverside CEO. “The success of this year’s events – which required a much larger operation and even more precautions put in place – is a true testament to our team members coming together, dedicated to the patients we serve.”

Over 70 team members were involved in coordinating and managing each of the clinics, which were open to patients 14 and up while supplies lasted.

The flu, short for influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older adults, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

“Our true north should always be how do we better serve our patients,” said Thomas Kayrouz, M.D., president and chief medical officer of Riverside Medical Group. “An important part of serving our patients – perhaps the most important part – is helping prevent them from getting sick in the first place.”

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the flu season is unpredictable and constantly changing, with the severity and length of each season changing from year to year, flu season in the U.S. generally runs through the fall and winter.

The unknowns of the season underscore the importance to get vaccinated, the CDC reports, and take every day preventative measures to avoid spreading the virus, including staying away from sick people, washing hands frequently and staying home from work and school when sick to prevent exposing others.

“An inoculated community is a safer community,” said Kelly Cooper, Senior Director Primary Care and Access for Riverside. “We’re proud to have been able to reach twice as many people this year to help keep our community as well as possible during this flu season.”

Free flu shots remain available on select days at the Community Free Clinic of Newport News at 727 25th Street while supplies last. Please visit riversideonline.com/flu for a complete listing.