October 09, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Flu clinics for uninsured adults begin next week; first case reported

The Springfield Flu Coalition's open flu vaccine clinics for uninsured adults begin next week. These free clinics are at the following dates and times:

The Flu Coalition is a long-standing partnership that includes CoxHealth, the Greene County Medical Society, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Mercy Springfield, Ozarks Community Hospital and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, as well the nursing colleges associated with both Cox and Mercy. Additionally, the Flu Coalition will conduct a "rolling" flu clinic for employees of restaurants and hotels along the North Glenstone Avenue corridor on Oct. 23 and 24.

Flu season is truly just around the corner, and in fact, the first confirmed case of the flu has already been recorded in Greene County.

"While the timing of the first case is no indication of the severity of the coming season, this does go to show that the flu is here in the community and that now is the time to get immunized," said Kendra Findley, Administrator of Community Health and Epidemiology at the health department.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone who is at least 6 months of age. It is especially important for pregnant women, young children, people 65 years and older, and people with compromised immune systems for reasons that may include certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders and metabolic disorders. For most people, there are many opportunities to get a flu shot and health officials strongly recommend that anyone who has the means to get vaccinated do so.

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. There about 30,000 flu-related deaths in the U.S. each year, and about 90 percent of those are people age 65 and older. The annual seasonal flu vaccine (either a flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. It takes up to two weeks for the body to build full immunity after vaccination, which is why getting vaccinated early is important. The typical peak flu season in the Springfield area runs from January through March.

Those who are covered by insurance plans, including Medicare, should contact their health care provider. With recent changes to health insurance coverage, more and more preventative measures are required to be covered under most plans. Many large employers offer flu shots to employees at no or low cost. Retail locations such as pharmacies are a growing option, as well. Visit www.flu.gov to find locations in the area.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department offers seasonal flu vaccine only for:

There is no charge for Greene County residents who are in the above three categories. People who are in the above three categories but do not reside in Greene County can pay a $17 fee to be vaccinated. Vaccinations are available at the Westside Public Health Center, 660 S. Scenic Ave., by appointment or during walk-in clinic hours, which are from 7:30-10 a.m. on Tuesdays only. Call (417) 874-1220 to make an appointment.

For more information about the Health Department clinics or the Flu Coalition clinics, contact: Mike Brothers, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-1205.

springfield greene county health department
city of springfield and greene county logos

Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov