Seasonal flu vaccine now available

Mahaska Health Partnership

With flu season upon us, MHP Public Health will begin offering influenza vaccination walk-in clinics starting Thursday, Sept. 1.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – MHP Public Health Coordinator Patty Malloy, RN, said MHP Public Health will be hosting Walk-in Vaccination Clinics on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00 to 11:30 am and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, excluding holidays. Evening appointments are available upon request by calling MHP Public Health at 641-673-3257.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that hospitals and other health agencies begin offering the vaccine as soon as it is available,” Malloy said. “Influenza can occur at any time, but most influenza occurs from October through May.

“Recommendations from the CDC encourage people to get the vaccine early to provide protection if the flu season comes early. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, and new guidelines by the CDC indicate that protection lasts about a year.”

Malloy said that MHP Public Health will soon be announcing its off-site vaccination clinics, as well as the popular ‘drive-thru’ clinics on MHP’s campus. “MHP is also offering the flu shots though MHP Specialty Services, which includes the medical practices of John O’Brien,MD, Nick Messamer,MD, Lisa Nelson, ARNP, Tina Main, ARNP and Melissa Lamb, ARNP of the New Sharon Medical Center.”

Influenza is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. According to Malloy, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. There are two types of vaccines:

• The “flu” shot- an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

• The nasal-spray flu vaccine- a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu, (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”). LAIV is approved for use in healthy people, 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Malloy said Medicare Plan B can be billed with proof of insurance card. Otherwise, the cost is $20 for the shot and $25 for the nasal spray or “flu-mist.” For more information regarding flu vaccination clinics or if you or someone you know is homebound and may need assistance with getting a flu shot, call MHP Public Health at 641-673-3257 or visit the MHP website, mahaskahealth.org.

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