Say boo to the flu with a vaccine at no cost to you

The seasonal flu vaccine is important protection for anyone older than six months of age by reducing the likelihood that you will have to seek emergency help in a hospital should you become sick, according to a press release from Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

Officials urge everyone to get their vaccine before Halloween. Although many health insurance providers cover the cost of the flu vaccine, those who are under or uninsured may find it difficult to afford.

This year, you can say boo to the flu by making an appointment by calling 727-824-6931 or walking in to a DOH clinic during the week of Oct. 25-29.

The CDC has determined that it is safe to receive both the flu and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. If you haven't done so already, you can get vaccinated for both in one stop at no charge.

DOH-Pinellas is providing flu vaccines for adults and children older than 3 at no cost during this weeklong event. Hours at these locations will be

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following centers:

• St. Petersburg, 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.

• Mid County, 8751 Ulmerton Rd., Largo

• Clearwater, 310 N. Myrtle Ave.

• Pinellas Park, 6350 76th Ave.

• Tarpon Springs, 301 S. Disston Ave.

If these locations or hours are not convenient for you, visit www.FluFreeFlorida.com to find other locations offering the seasonal flu vaccine.

For information about DOH-Pinellas, go to www.PinellasHealth.com or call 727-824-6900.

HCA hospitals team up with law enforcement To “Crush the Crisis’

LARGO — Medical Center, Northside Hospital, St. Petersburg General Hospital and Palms of Pasadena Hospital announced are hosting the third annual opioid take back event to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications on Saturday, Oct. 23. The “Crush the Crisis,” event aligns with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and invites community members to safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70,630 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, with more than 70% attributed to opioids. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, and it is possible that a significant number of opioid addictions and overdose deaths come from individuals accessing unused opioids prescriptions of family and friends.

“Opioid addiction is a national health crisis, and it is imperative that we get unused pain medications out of homes where they can more easily end up in the wrong hands,” said Dr. Dwight Stapleton, chief medical officer of Largo Medical Center. “We invite you to join us for this year’s ‘Crush the Crisis’ to properly dispose of your unused medications and help us in educating the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”

Law enforcement officers from the Largo Police Department will be collecting tablets, capsules and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxymorphone (Opana). All medications are accepted, Items that will not be accepted include needles, syringes, lancets, inhalers or liquids. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the event, including masking and social distancing.

“Crush the Crisis” will take place at Largo Medical Center at 1551 West Bay Drive from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Please follow the signs for this drive-thru event. For more information, visit www.hcahealthcare.com/campaigns/crush-the-crisis or call toll free number at 833-582-1970.

Vacancies open on Lealman CRA Advisory Committee

Pinellas County is now accepting applications to fill two vacancies on the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area. These appointments are for three year terms, beginning Jan. 1, 2022, and expiring Dec. 31, 2024.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. The application can be found at www.pinellascounty.org/boards.

The Lealman CRA Advisory Committee was established to advise the Pinellas County Community Redevelopment Agency on the creation and administration of the Lealman CRA redevelopment plan, any amendments thereto, and on issues and policies impacting the Lealman CRA.

The committee has nine members who are appointed by Pinellas County Commissioners. Applicants must be residents, business and/or property owners or other stakeholders from within the Lealman CRA. A boundary map of the area can be found online at https://www.pinellascounty.org/cra/pdf/Lealman_CRA_Boundary_Area_map.pdf.

The by-laws of the Lealman CRA Advisory Committee are available online at http://www.pinellascounty.org/cra/pdf/lealman-bylaws.pdf.

Presently, the committee meets six times per year, on the fourth Wednesday of every other month. Meeting dates may be canceled or adjusted as needed.