El Pasoans wait hours in drive-thru line to get free flu shots amid sharp coronavirus spike

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — We’ve been hearing it time and again: the importance of getting a flu shot as we dive into flu season amid a pandemic this year.

That’s why hundreds of El Pasoans didn’t mind waiting hours in line on Tuesday at the El Paso Zoo to take all precautions necessary.

“If everybody gets their vaccination, if everyone gets their flu shot, then it’ll help us,” El Pasoan Samantha Urteaga shared. “Right now, we’re the No. 2 city, get these numbers down. Hopefully all of us will get better at this.”

The El Paso Fire Department and Department of Public Health teamed up on Tuesday as part of the “Be Powerflu” campaign. So far, more than 18,000 vaccines have been administered, with a goal of 136,000. The campaign began on Oct. 5.

“We’re trying to minimize the stress of the medical infrastructure due to COVID-19 pandemic. So us being vaccinated really assists the medical community with that,” said Miguel Torres, Battalion Chief of El Paso Fire Department.

“We don’t really go out much, but we are trying to keep ourselves safe. It is important to get the flu shot and we want to make sure we have all our vaccinations and everything. So that way we do get a vaccination for this COVID, then we can be ready for it,” Urteaga shared.

Last year, 15,362 cases of the flu were reported in El Paso County, along with two flu-related deaths.

The free flu shots are being offered to those as young as 6 months and older. Those who are considered most vulnerable, such as the elderly or having existing medical conditions, are being urged to get the vaccine ASAP.

“Not only that but, individuals that are healthy. If we get it, then it minimizes the exposure to the people that are at higher risk,” Torres added.

“I live with my premature babies. My parents are older, they have pre-existing conditions. So they’re at an all high risk. Both my parents got the flu. My mom got pneumonia, she was in the hospital twice. So we’re just taking all precautions necessary,” El Pasoan Isabel Stretton said.

The City said it’ll be having more events in the near future offering free flu shots to the community.

For more information on where you can get a flu shot with or without an appointment, click here.

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