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Kenai Public Health holding joint vaccine clinic as flu season nears

A nurse prepares to administer a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine at a clinic in Anchorage.
Hannah Lies
Alaska Public Media
A nurse prepares to administer a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine at a clinic in Anchorage.

Kenai Public Health has spent the last two years equipping people with tools against COVID-19 and, most recently, preparing for cases of monkeypox.

Now, Public Health Nurse Tami Marsters said they’re on the lookout for a more familiar slate of winter-time illnesses.

“Any of those respiratory illnesses are what we need to make sure we don’t catch right now,” she said.

That includes rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. Health experts are also tracking a surge of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV — a virus that can be particularly damaging to babies and older people. That surge hasn't hit Alaska as hard as it's hit the Lower 48, yet.

Marsters said to avoid RSV and other respiratory viruses, take the usual precautions— cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands and stay home if you’re sick.

She said as people continue to put their guards down with COVID-19 precautions, like masking and social distancing, more cases of the flu could arise, as well.

“Historically, the highest time for flu in Alaska is between January and March,” she said. “So of course we’re encouraging everybody to get their flu shots, because they are predicting that this could be a really high flu year.”

As for COVID-19 Marsters said it’s hard to tell how many cases are out there today since many people are testing at-home and not reporting their results. Hospital visits from COVID-19 are down at Central Peninsula Hospital.

Health officials are encouraging people to get the bivalent COVID booster, which protects against the newest and original strains of COVID-19 — particularly as COVID cases are climbing again overseas. Anyone over the age of 5 who has already had their original vaccine series and is more than two months out from their last shot is eligible for the booster.

Kenai Public Health is holding a clinic Friday, Nov. 4 both for COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Book an appointment by calling Kenai Public Health at 907-335-3400.

Marsters said the center also has slots available most days during it's regular hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Those slots are also available by appointment.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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