Health organizations team up to ‘Say Boo to the Flu’
Several upcoming vaccination clinics planned in Orleans
No one in the field of health in Orleans County can forget the tragic death of 4-year-old Leon Sidari on Christmas Day in 2017 from the flu.
Leon was the son of Albion natives Dr. Laura Sidari and her husband Dr. Tony Sidari. Leon’s memory is being honored by a special program called “Say Boo to Flu” to ensure everyone has a flu shot.
Say Boo to Flu is being sponsored by Orleans Community Health in partnership with Orleans County YMCA, Orleans County Health Department, Oak Orchard Health, Rotary and Middleport Family Health Center, each of whom will host a flu clinic, beginning Oct. 9.
Last year, Orleans Community Health had one site and more than 60 people showed up, said Cindy Perry, director of education, outreach and marketing at Community Partners.
“This year, we are offering flu shots in every town with a school district,” Perry said.
Participating agencies are part of the Healthy Orleans Network, and include Orleans Community Health, Orleans County Health Department, Oak Orchard Health, Albion School, Orleans YMCA, Orleans County Mental Health, Community Action, Lyndonville Library, Hoag Library, Lee Whedon Library, GCASA, Orleans County Office for the Aging, County Legislator Lynne Johnson, Orleans Community Health’s Albion Health Center and Economic Development. Their goals are to improve the status of the community’s health, promote access to quality health care service and eliminate health care disparities.
Flu shots will be administered by Orleans County Health Department from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 9 at Holley Elementary School; from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at Lyndonville Elementary School; and from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Kendall Elementary School. Individuals of all ages will be given a flu shot.
On Oct. 14, shots will be given to all ages from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Orleans Community Health’s Albion walk-in clinic.
For the first time, Middleport Family Health Center is participating and will give shots to ages 3 and older from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Orleans County YMCA in Medina; and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at Oak Orchard Health, 301 West Ave., in Albion.
The final flu clinic will be Nov. 5 at Hoag Library, where Orleans County Health Department will give shots from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is encouraged to “Vote and Vax.”
“I’m excited we’ve got more participants and more sites,” Perry said. “With different days and different times, we hope to make it easy as we can for people to get their flu shots.”
She said there are so many inaccuracies being spread about flu shots, and information will be provided at all sites. There will also be games for kids with small prizes, such as free band-aids, snacks and stickers.
Perry said Leon’s parents are very supportive of the initiative. Leon loved snowmen, she said, which is why snowmen were the theme for last year’s Breakfast with Santa at the hospital.
She also said they are excited about the name for the program, which was a suggestion of Jessica Capurso, who works with Perry.
“One little girl whose mom had our flyer on her refrigerator got so excited about saying ‘Say boo to the flu,’” Perry said.
Pettit said the collaboration of these local agencies really shows a willingness to come together to address health issues of their community. The benefits of collaboration include reducing or eliminating duplication of services, sharing important data and creating grant funding opportunities.
“The general philosophy is we don’t need to be competitors and we need each other,” he said. “Having every agency come together shows a desire to protect our citizens.”
Those with insurance should bring their insurance card to the clinic.
Leon Sidari and his parents were living in San Antonio in 2017. Leon was very healthy and started showing flu symptoms on Dec. 23. Within 48 hours he died despite the efforts of a medical team at the hospital. Leon had been vaccinated for the flu in prior years and was due for a flu shot soon after Christmas. He died from the strain of the virus called H3N2.
His parents are both medical doctors. They both earned licenses as medical doctors with Laura working as a psychiatrist and Tony as a rheumatologist. They are both in the Air Force.
They have become very outspoken in urging people to get flu vaccinations.