Health

Health Department recommends everyone six months and older to get their annual flu shot

September 16, 2021

(Des Moines, IA) – Each year, flu season is unpredictable and severe. Some years, we have seen a mild flu season. Other flu seasons, such as when the H1N1 and H2N3 strains appeared, we saw healthy individuals, those with underlying health conditions, the young and old become sick, hospitalized and even die. The truth is we have no idea what this year’s flu season will look like. What we do know is that it is possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

“Our hospitals and healthcare partners have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020,” said Helen Eddy, director of Polk County Health Department. “Our hospitals are full and we need to do our part to help them.  That includes preventing illness and hospitalization by getting the flu vaccine.”

The flu shot is recommended for everyone ages six months and older annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes each year. The flu can make anyone sick just like we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The elderly, young children, pregnant women and individuals with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to serious health complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and bronchitis if they contract the illness. If, in fact, you do get the flu, be prepared to be sick for up to two weeks.

 “We know the flu is bigger than just you. It impacts everyone around you,” said Eddy.  “Protect yourself and your loved ones this year. Get a flu shot.”

Starting Monday, September 20, 2021, Polk County Health Department will host a drive-up flu clinic. The clinic will be located in the west parking lot, Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Appointments are required, please register for your appointment at: https://www.immunizepolk.com/. Face masks are required when receiving your shot.

The Polk County Health Department will also be hosting community flu based clinics to give residents multiple opportunities to get their vaccine. Visit http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health to find the schedule.

Most major insurance plans are accepted. Do not forget to bring your insurance card to the clinic. Fluzone, a flu shot specifically designed for individuals 65 years and older will be $50. As individuals age, their immune system weakens over time. Fluzone provides a higher dose of antigen in the vaccine and is designed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against the flu. The cost for a regular flu shot for individuals without insurance is $25. Please wear a mask to all flu clinics.

The Polk County Health Department has a call center specifically dedicated to providing assistance to individuals who do not have the ability to access the internet or a computer. Our call center team is able to work with individuals who do not speak English. Call center hours are Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

 

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COVID-19 Call Center for eligible individuals WITHOUT computer or internet access, please call 515-323-5221 Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.