Influenza is a serious illness. For some, the flu leads to hospitalization and even death. It can be especially serious among young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. A flu shot decreases your chances of getting the flu. For this reason, Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) is again offering flu vaccination for people ages six months and older.
The CDC and DCPH are also encouraging the COVID vaccine. The CDC recommends one dose of the updated COVID vaccine for those ages five and above. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses. Children ages six months to four years need multiple doses to be up to date, to include at least one dose of the updated COVID vaccine. COVID vaccination recently transitioned to the commercial market. For uninsured and underinsured adults, DCPH participates in the COVID Bridge Access Program, which provides free COVID immunization to adults 19 years of age and older that do not have health insurance that covers vaccination.
Flu and COVID shots can be received at immunization clinics held at DCPH every Tuesday from 9:00 am until 11:30 am and 1:00 pm until 5:30 pm and on Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 5:30 pm. An appointment is necessary to get the vaccines and can be scheduled by calling DCPH at 712-339-6050. The cost for a flu shot or the flu mist is $30 if it is not covered by insurance and the high-dose flu shot is $70. Many insurance providers fully cover the cost of the vaccine. Medicare B eligible clients and those with health insurance must bring their Medicare or insurance cards with them. The flu mist is an option for those between the ages of two and 49. The high-dose flu shot contains four times the antigen, which stimulates a longer, stronger response to the influenza virus. The high-dose flu shot is available and recommended for those over age 65.
For those interested in getting both the flu and COVID shots, Lakes Regional Healthcare Director of Population and Public Health Katy Carey said it is possible to get other vaccinations at the same time as the flu vaccination. She said, “We follow CDC guidance and encourage coadministration with age-appropriate doses of vaccines for people that don’t have any specific contraindications at the time of the visit.”
For more information about the influenza vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm.