GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — With coronavirus still affecting our day-to-day lives, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s now more important than ever to get your flu shot. Kroger hosted a drive through flu shot clinic for people in the Metro Atlanta area, but one group showed up to protest the vaccine.
Cars lined up at Gwinnett Church Hamilton Mill where Kroger opened up a drive through flu shot clinic. Drivers said getting a shot is a must.
“Given this year, especially with dealing with the flu like we do every year and then COVID on top of it, it’s good we’re doing this,” said Jason Dunseth, a Gwinnett County resident. “I know it doesn’t guarantee total prevention, but I think the fact they’re doing this is good.”
“We need as much immunity to everything we can or else we’re just gonna spread it, spread COVID, spread flu,” said his wife, Pam Dunseth, who also weighed in on the drive through set up. “It’s open air, it’s safe, so a safe flu shot and a safe environment is win-win for us.”
Protesters line the street near the flu shot drive through. pic.twitter.com/PpHNK5FJka
— Valencia E. Jones (@vjreports3) September 24, 2020
Not everyone agrees getting the flu shot is a good idea. Protesters lined the road by the clinic, urging the public to avoid getting one at all cost.
“It’s not effective. If you look at the efficacy rates for year after year, it’s never above 50%,” said Aimee English, a member of a group called Advocacy & Truth for Healthy Communities. She says two of her four children have not received any vaccines and are in good health, but the other two who have received them, including flu shots, have disabilities. “You may avoid the flu, but then you actually have a greater chance of being hospitalized, you have a greater chance of developing other infections, you also have a greater chance of COVID-19,” she said.
The group cites a number of research reports they say support these claims. They share the data and opinions in a Facebook group called Royal Resistance.
According to the CDC, 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu during an average season, resulting in an average of 500,000 related hospitalizations. The CDC also reports COVID-19 has resulted in more than 370,000 hospitalizations since March.
Dr. Kathleen Toomey with the Georgia Department of Public Health issued a statement this month indicating health officials want to avoid overburdening hospitals with flu and COVID-19 patients. It’s what many local doctors and pharmacists are saying as well.
“We follow data with the CDC that shows that these vaccines are safe and effective for patients six months and older, so we recommend them following CDC guidelines,” said Crissy Payette, a Kroger pharmacist.
For those looking for Kroger’s next drive through clinic stop, you can head to Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta next Wednesday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.