KNOXVILLE (WATE) – As some people tailgating down in George ahead of the Tennessee vs. Georgia game, others spent the day getting their flu shot in Knoxville.
Oct. 1 marked the 25th annual free flu shot Saturday, with many clinics around Knoxville offering free vaccines for people four and older. Doctors say getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting the virus and spreading it to others.
“The flu vaccine is not perfect but it’s the only defense we have against the flu, and the more people that have the vaccine, the better it works,” Charlie Barnett, doctor and creator of Free Flu Saturday, said.
Barnett came up with the idea of Free Flu Shot Saturday 25 years ago, and today the event is bigger than ever, drawing in 4,462 people in the Knoxville area and raising more than $18,000 in charity.
Volunteers donate the money to the Empty Stocking Fund, an organization that helps provide food and presents to low-income families over the holidays. Over the past 25 years, Free Flu Shot Saturday raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause and provided 242,000 free flu shots.
Parents said the annual clinic offers a helping hand. Katy McKinney gets her four children flu shots on Free Flu Shot Saturday every year just in time for flu season.
“The fact that I can come and get everyone done at one place for free is great for me because I work full time so to be able to knock it all out in one day is fantastic,” she said.