Plenty of flu vaccine available

Thursday, September 25, 2008

With flu season on the horizon, Barry County health officials have announced that flu vaccinations will be available at the local health department beginning on Oct. 16.

Flu shots will be available on a walk-in basis at both health department locations in Cassville and Monett. Vaccinations will be offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Cassville and from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Monett.

The cost for the flu shot will remain at $15, which is the same amount that was charged last year. The only difference this year is that the health department will no longer be doing any insurance billing, including Medicare roster billing.

Health Department Administrator Kathleen King said this change was made to keep costs down for all clients.

"We're trying to keep the cost down so everybody who wants to get a flu immunization can afford it," said King. "At $15, it's pretty inexpensive, and it's stayed at the same price for at least the past four years since I've been here."

Area residents need to be prepared to pay for the flu shot with cash or a check. Individuals with insurance are also welcome to submit their own claim to their insurance company for flu shot reimbursement.

"The health department also encourages residents to check with their private medical provider to see if vaccine is available at their office," said King.

This year, the health department received 2,000 doses of the flu vaccine, which is same amount as last year.

"They're producing more vaccine now than they every have, and at this time, shortages are not an issue," said King.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a list of people who should get vaccinated each year. They include:

* People at high risk for complications from the flu, including: children aged 6 months to 5; pregnant women; people 50 years of age and older; people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and people who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

* People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu; household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age; and healthcare workers.

For more information about the services offered at the Barry County Health Department, call 847-2114.

Other options

Maxim will be offering flu and pneumonia shots at the Cassville Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1. The cost is $30 for flu shots and $45 for pneumonia vaccinations.

Medicare will be accepted, and the shot clinic is open to the general public. For more information, call 847-4510.

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