Preventing the Flu at the Fair

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- It's a coincidence that we start talking about the flu about the same time we start talking about the Bloomsburg Fair, but Geisinger is taking the opportunity to educate people about what it takes to get the flu vaccine to you and how you can get the vaccine while you're enjoying the fair.

A walk-in cooler in a warehouse near Elysburg is where Geisinger Health System will store every influenza vaccine for the season.

Pharmacist Holly Bones has a long title; she's the system director of pharmacy procurement and formulary services. In other words, she's in charge of purchasing, storing, and distributing the flu vaccine for Geisinger.

"We store all of our flu vaccine centrally, and we have a centralized distribution process to hospitals and ambulatory clinics," Bones explained.

Geisinger is filling 150 to 200 orders per week right now, which is the height of the season on this end of things.

"We've ordered over 200,000 doses of influenza vaccine for this flu season, and we will see the bulk of that inventory be used within the first four to six weeks of the flu season."

A few thousand of those doses have ended up at the Bloomsburg Fair. We found a line forming when we stopped by on Monday and people were there to take advantage of free flu shots.

You do not have to be a Geisinger patient or a Geisinger Health Plan member to get a flu shot, but you do have to be at least 18.

"We did over 4,000 last year," said wellness specialist Katie Mills. "This year, 1,500 so far, and this morning close to 400."

One fair visitor said this stop was a no-brainer when it comes to protecting his health, and the health of everyone around him, this winter.

Katie Mills agrees.

"Come on out! Have fun. Have a good time at the fair, but then take that first step to prevention. Get that flu shot. Get it early. Enjoy the rest of the day," Mills said.

If you won't be at the Bloomsburg Fair this week, Geisinger is hosting what's called "Super Saturday" clinics through this fall. The first is this Saturday. Get more information here.

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