Vaccines, healthy habits could prevent health care system from being overwhelmed
(Austin) – Central Health-affiliated CommUnityCare Health Centers urges its patients to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible since the influenza virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 will spread at the same time this fall and winter.
“Getting a flu vaccine has never been more important,” said Dr. Alan Schalscha, chief medical officer for CommUnityCare Health Centers. “A severe flu season in the midst of a deadly coronavirus pandemic could overwhelm our health care system. Flu vaccines and face masks are two proven defenses that all of us need to embrace, especially as people start gathering indoors during the fall and winter and during the holiday season.”
COVID-19 and flu are both highly contagious and potentially fatal respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Similar to COVID-19, flu spreads through droplets when you talk, cough, or sneeze. Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are also similar so it is difficult to know the difference without a test. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning everyone to be prepared for the coming flu season by getting vaccinated as soon as possible. Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone six months and older. High-risk individuals include:
- Adults over 65
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic medical conditions
- Health care workers
CommUnityCare, Central Health’s affiliated Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) system, is expecting about 30,000 vaccines in the coming weeks for its patients. The order was based on last flu season’s total vaccinations and was placed in April.
“We’ve come so far slowing the spread of COVID-19, now is not the time to let down our guard,” Central Health President & CEO Mike Geeslin said. “All of us need to get a flu vaccine and continuing practice healthy habits meaning always wearing a mask in public, washing our hands often, and avoiding crowded indoor gatherings. Protecting yourself, your family and our entire community could give hospitals the space they may need to treat patients with coronavirus when we experience another surge.”
CommUnityCare operates 28 clinics in and around Travis County, and offers two walk-in clinics where no appointment is needed – CommUnityCare Hancock at 1000 E. 41st St., Suite 925 and CommUnityCare Southeast Health & Wellness at 2901 Montopolis Drive. Pediatric patients can visit any CommUnityCare Carousel location without an appointment. To find the nearest CommUnityCare Health Center, visit communitycaretx.org/locations.
Central Health Medical Access Program (MAP) members may visit their primary care provider, CommUnityCare, People’s Community Clinic, Lone Star Circle of Care and receive a flu vaccine. Members can visit one of MAP’s contracted urgent care clinics, FastMed and NextCare, but will pay $25 at NextCare and $35 at FastMed.
|FastMed Urgent Care
|NextCare Urgent Care
|1920 E. Riverside Drive, Ste. A-110
Austin, TX 78741
|351 Cypress Creed Road, Ste. 103
Cedar Park, TX 78613
|3607 Manor Road, Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78723
|6001 W. William Cannon, Ste. 302
Austin, TX 78749
|3311 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78705
|1240 E. Palm Valley Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78664
|14008 Shadow Glen Blvd, Ste. 100
Manor, TX 78653
|900 N. Austin Ave
Georgetown, TX 78626
|2303 Ranch Road 620, Ste. 210
Lakeway, TX 78734
|1701 US Hwy 281 N.
Marble Falls, TX 78654
|717 TX-71 W., Ste. 500
Bastrop, TX 78602
|4506 Williams Dr., Ste. 120
Georgetown, TX 78633
|135 Bunton Rd.
Kyle, TX 78640
To find location, MAP members should visit centralhealth.net/map/get-care/urgent-and-convenient-care. To apply for MAP, visit apply4map.net or call 512-978-8130.
Austin Public Health also offers flu vaccines for people who are uninsured Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call the Austin Public Health Immunizations Line at 512-972-5520.