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County to Offer Free Flu Shots on Election Day

A child receives a flu shot (Courtesy of Arlington County)(Updated at 8:45 p.m.) Arlington residents will be able to cast their votes and get a free flu shot on Election Day next Tuesday.

Flu shots will be offered from 9-11 a.m. at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd) on Nov. 3.

To get a free shot, people will have to volunteer for a public health emergency simulation, which lasts about 30 minutes.

During the simulation, volunteers will fill out some paperwork, speak with a medication dispensing representative and then receive M&Ms or animal crackers, which represent medication, said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.

The simulation is meant to help the county and staff prepare for a medical emergency where they may have to dispense medicine, Larrick said.

Practicing for a public health emergency gives county planners and staff hands-on experience, Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement.

“This is a great opportunity for members of the community to protect themselves against the flu,” Varghese said. “But it’s about more than that. What we’re really doing is testing our ability to deliver medications during a public health emergency. These simulations give our planners and other staff valuable hands-on experience, and by moving the exercise around the county we are able to evaluate different sites for challenges and opportunities.”

Flu activity is currently low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The public health agency recommends everyone ages six months and up gets a flu shot, adding that the flu can cause thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year.

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