By THERÈSE MARGOLIS
Nearly 350 people showed up for the American Benevolent Society’s (ABS) abbreviated health fair on Friday, Oct. 22, where personnel from the ABC Medical Center administered flu, pneumococcus, shingles and tetanus vaccines.
And while some of the other services usually included in the fair — such as free eye examines, cholesterol checks and triglycerides screenings — were suspended this year because of covid-19 precautions, ABS executive director Aliki Elias said that there was an unprecedented turnout for flu shots.
Medical experts have warned that getting the flu shot is especially important this year due to the covid pandemic.
A seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control for all people over age six months (although in Mexico the government tends to limit distribution of the shots to the elderly and immune-compromised).
However, this year, with the current global health crisis, getting a flu shot has become an even more crucial preventive care measure because the influenza virus can weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to other respiratory infections, including covid-19.
The ABS held it first health fair in 2003, when access to flu vaccinations was not always readily available in Mexico.
Since it was already offering flu shots, the ABS decided to include other health services and make them available for all members of the community.
Founded in 1868, the American Benevolent Society is a nonprofit organization that provides charitable assistance to both U.S. and Mexican nationals during periods of personal distress or financial need.