To curb the flu, Fulton’s health board vaccinated 130 homeless people

During a particularly bad flu season, the Fulton County Board of Health enacted a plan to help stop the spread among the homeless population.

Three outreach workers and eight nurses set up flu vaccine clinics to offer free shots at seven metro Atlanta homeless shelters last month. The shelters distributed flyers and sign-up sheets in advance of the clinics, which were held over a seven-day period in early February.

Of the 190 people who signed up for a flu shot, 130 showed up and were vaccinated, spokeswoman Alicia Cardwell Alston said. Alston called that a “great turnout” for what she believes is the first time the department has made such an effort “on this scale.”

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Workers at the clinics educated participants on how to recognize and prevent flu, emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated — especially when living in close quarters at a shelter, a press release said.

Dr. Gloria Beecher, the health board’s nursing director, said homeless people might not have the resources to access the vaccinationif not for the clinics.

“We targeted this population because they often suffer from other chronic diseases which put them at higher risks for complications if they get the flu,” Beecher said in a statement.

The names of the participating shelters were not immediately available.

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