North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Protect Yourself this Flu Season – Get Your Flu Shot Today

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Flu Shots Available at Your Local Health Department

Flu season is here, and annual flu shots are available at your local county health department. All 13 North Central Health District (NCHD) count health departments are here to protect you against the flu. Health departments will require an appointment for flu shots this year in order to protect visitors and staff from COVID-19 while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“October is the beginning of our regular flu season, and it can last as far as May of the following year,” said Judy McChargue, NCHD Nursing Director. “This flu season is definitely going to look different from others, but everyone should get their annual flu shot as early as possible. We want everyone to be protected.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccines are an essential part of protecting yourself, your family and your community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that lab-confirmed flu activity is low at this time, and influenza-like illness is likely related to COVID-19. By getting your flu shot, you can help prevent the spread of flu on top of the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot every year,” said McChargue.

Flu can be transmitted in ways similar to how COVID-19 spreads, so certain preventative actions can help reduce your risk of both illnesses. Preventative actions such as washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing can help protect you and others. Using a face covering and social distancing when in public space can reduce your risk of both flu and COVID-19.

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. CDC estimates that during the 2019-2020 flu season, the U.S. experienced 38 million flu illnesses and 22,000 related deaths. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those at risk of serious complications from flu are adults 65 years of age and older, adults living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, children younger than age 5, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions.

Vaccines are available at your county health department, physician’s office, urgent care, other healthcare providers and at many retail pharmacies, grocery stores and other businesses. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines to staff and students. Check with providers about the COVID-19 prevention practices they require before visiting for a flu shot. Any vaccination location following CDC’s pandemic guidance should be a safe place to get a flu shot.

“Our health departments have implemented protective measures like social distancing and masking for staff members and visitors to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” said McChargue. “While we’ve normally accepted walk-ins for many of our services, we’re requiring appointments to keep everyone safe.”

To find your local health department and make an appointment, visit NCHD52.org/Locations. Most insurance plans completely cover the cost of flu shots. For those that are uninsured or underinsured, the health department’s regular flu shots are $25 and high dose shots (recommended for those age 65 and older) are $55. For more information on flu, visit NCHD52.org/flu.

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All COVID-19 vaccination appointments for the week of Jan. 18 - Jan. 23 have been booked. We have booked appointments for all vaccine supply we currently have available. We will open additional appointments for vaccination once we have received more vaccine. Please look here and to our social media for updates when we get more vaccine shipments.