Flu shots now available at several Mower County locations

While not everyone may be thinking of flu shots in late August, the vaccines are now available in Austin. Some people have already received their immunizations.

For a couple weeks, Walgreens Pharmacy has had the flu shot available, where several people have already received their vaccinations, according to a pharmacist. Walmart will have a two-day flu shot clinic on Thursday and Friday of next week and Quick Care will receive a shipment of vaccinations soon.

Though flu shot clinics are typically held in late September and early October, along with increased awareness about the flu, Minnesota Department of Health officials say one can’t be vaccinated too early.

“It is not too early to get a flu shot,” said Jennifer Heath, MDH immunization outreach nurse specialist. “If you get vaccinated now, you will be protected through the end of the flu season. Immunity lasts about a year.”

Heath added 2012 is the third year of a nationwide push advising all people to get vaccinated — ever since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Furthermore, Heath said the beginning of the school year is an appropriate time for some kids to receive their vaccinations, especially if they are having checkups before school starts.

“Flu shots aren’t required for school,” Heath said. “But definitely the beginning of school is a good time to think about getting a flu shot.”

While flu shots at local stores are in the $30 range, most insurance plans will cover the vaccine, officials say. Mower County Public Health, which isn’t releasing the vaccine until it receives its full, yearly supply, will offer the vaccine at $14. Last year Mower County Public Health vaccinated 359 locals. The organization holds walk-in immunization clinics every Friday from 3:15 to 4 p.m. That time will change to 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning Oct. 4. It will also have both the shot and the nasal mist. The mist is available for people 2 to 49 years old with healthy immune systems.

Dorothy Meyer, public health nurse at Mower County Public Health, said the mist can be more efficient as it contains live virus. She highly recommends it for those who can have it. Furthermore, Heath added that research is showing the mist to be very effective in children.

“It appears to be growing in popularity,” Heath said. “It’s a really good option for kids.”

For those waiting until fall to get their flu shots or waiting for the shots to “come to them,” Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin is holding several clinics in October at its clinics in Grand Meadow, Adams, LeRoy and Blooming Prairie.

 

Mayo Clinic Health System flu shot clinics

(All clinics at Mayo facilities in respective towns)

Grand Meadow: 8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 2

Adams: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 10

LeRoy: 8:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 12

Blooming Prairie: 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 19

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