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County's older residents prepare for flu season at senior fair

A woman receives a flu shot at a clinic.
A woman receives a flu shot at a Salvation Army clinic in this undated photo.

A state senator is helping local senior citizens prepare for flu season.

About 70 seniors this week took advantage of the flu vaccine at a free clinic hosted by Sen. John Mannion. Cases of the illness start to increase around October.

Wegmans Pharmacy representative Dave Florczyk said that’s what makes the end of September a good time to get the shot.

“This is really your sweet spot now before it starts rolling through the community," Florczyk said. "Australia's the opposite of us, so they have already had their flu season and they were hit pretty hard from what we hear."

Florczyk said the precautions around Covid, such as masking, could affect a person's immunity, noting COVID boosters are also available if it’s been at least two months since a dose of the vaccine.

Those at the clinic also heard about new efforts to address rising death rates hitting communities of color. Upstate Medical University community research liaison, Kathy Royal said the healthcare organization is seeking senior Black and Hispanic volunteers for a study on increasing life expectation.

“We are asking our seniors 65 and older to come through our state geriatric department and, if for nothing, just get a wellness check-up to make sure that you're under the right medications," Royal said.

Regardless of race, she said senior residents who want to participate in research studies at Upstate can take advantage of a free wellness check.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.