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What are Flu Clinics?

A flu clinic is a facility which provides flu shots, vaccinations against common strains of seasonal flu. Flu clinics can also be community events at which flu shots and general health education are offered over the course of a day or weekend. Finding a flu clinic is generally very easy; typing in “flu clinic” and one's location in a search engine often yields a list and many medical advocacy organizations also maintain lists of locations which offer flu shots or dates for community flu clinics.

Flu shots are designed by epidemiologists who predict which strains of the flu will be most likely to appear in a given flu season. A flu shot will not protect against all forms of influenza, but it will certainly reduce someone's risk of getting the flu. As a general rule, flu shots do not protect against pandemic flu, because this type of virulent influenza often appears suddenly, and it is quite different from the milder strains of influenza which lead to seasonal flu.

Medical clinics and hospitals may stock flu vaccines for the benefit of their patients, with the vaccines being recommended to the elderly, young children, and immunocompromised people for whom seasonal flu can be dangerous. People outside these groups may also decide to get flu shots if they are concerned about missing work because of the flu, or if they interact with people who are at risk from seasonal influenza.

When flu clinics are held as community events, they typically occur in areas which are easy to access and are well known to the public, such as supermarket parking lots and community centers. The flu clinic is advertised in advance, and advertisement such as radio announcements and signage may be used on the day of the clinic to encourage people to attend. People can simply walk in to community flu clinics to get a flu shot, with some communities holding drive through clinics in which people don't even need to step out of their cars to get a flu shot.

Community flu clinics are often used to increase the vaccination level in the population. Clinic organizers assume that not everyone in a community attends regular medical appointments which would provide opportunities to get flu shots. The vaccinations at a community flu clinic are usually free or very low cost, with the government sponsoring the clinic in the interest of public health. A flu clinic may also provide general health information and advice, including referrals for medical issues.

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