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Iowa City Visiting Nurse Association sees remarkably low flu vaccination rates

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 7:02 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Colette Hartley is the Community Program Coordinator with the Visiting Nurse Association and IC Hospice. She sees hundreds of people every year who rely on others to do their part to be vaccinated.

“We’ve been offering a lot of opportunities for people to get the flu shot, so I don’t think that’s the issue,” Hartley told TV-9.

The “issue”, she says, is that people are forgetting or simply neglecting to get their flu shot this year.

“We noticed last year that out numbers were down about one thousand. I think part of that was with businesses working from home, normally we would go in and do their employees’ vaccinations,” Hartley said.

This year they are seeing even lower numbers. They’ve administered a little more than 3500 flu vaccines so far in 2021; down 500 doses from 2020.

Hartley says some people might see importance of the flu shot dulling in comparison to the COVID vaccine.

“It’s equally as important because people can get very sick and die, get hospitalized and die from the flu as well,” she said.

To try and encourage more people to get the flu shot, VNA and Iowa City Hospice have offered even more opportunities for elderly people to schedule an appointment at their building.

“That was a big attraction for a lot of people, especially older people who maybe didn’t want to go to their doctor’s office, a pharmacy, a grocery store pharmacy, and so they felt more comfortable coming in here,” said Hartley.

CEO of Iowa Care Community, Karla Kamal says they rely on community members reminding each other to get vaccinated.

“The relationships that we have with referral sources within the community are the most important way we get the word out,” she said.

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