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

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2020

(Des Moines, IA) – Each year, flu season is unpredictable and severe. Some years, we have seen a mild flu season. Other flu seasons 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 possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

“Getting a flu shot is a preventative measure that everyone can take to stay healthy, keep our community healthy and help protect the capacity of the healthcare systems and hospitals to take care of the most vulnerable,” said Helen Eddy, director of Polk County Health Department.

Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. We can only follow public health mitigation strategies such as wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home when we are sick to fight COVID-19. Yet, we can protect ourselves from getting the flu. 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 flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.

 “We know COVID-19 cannot always be prevented but we know getting the flu shot can greatly reduce our risk of getting sick, hospitalized or dying,” said Eddy.  “Protect yourself and your loved ones this year. Get a flu shot.”

Starting Monday, September 28, 2020, 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 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Park in the designated parking spots and call the number listed in the parking spot signs. A health professional will come to your vehicle to give your flu shot. Face masks are required when receiving your shot.

The Polk County Health Department will also be hosting community flu based clinics to give the community opportunities to get their vaccine. Visit http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health to find the schedule. To speed up the process at the flu clinics, individuals can download the consent form from the Health Department web site and bring the completed consent form to the clinic. Consent forms are in both English and Spanish. 

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 supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. The cost for regular flu shot for individuals without insurance is $25. Please wear a mask to all flu clinics.

 

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If you think you need to get tested for COVID-19 or have been exposed, call your clinic FIRST. DO NOT go to the ER or clinic. You could potentially expose others to COVID-19 or be exposed to COVID-19.