Mahaska Health Partnership Offers Seasonal Flu Vaccines
With flu season just around the corner, Mahaska Health Partnership Public Health and Specialty Services will begin offering flu vaccinations on Monday, Sept. 17.
“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that hospitals and other health agencies begin offering the vaccine as soon as it is available,” MHP Public Health Coordinator Patty Malloy said. “Influenza can occur at any time, but most influenza occurs from October through May.”
MHP Public Health will hold Walk-In Clinics Mondays and Thursdays from 8 am to 4 pm (excluding holidays) on the MHP campus, entrance #6. Evening appointments are available upon request.
Flu shots and mist will also be provided by appointment at MHP Specialty Services, including the medical practices of John O’Brien, MD; Nick Messamer, MD; Lisa Nelson, ARNP; Tina Main, ARNP; and Chris Beaird, ARNP, on the Oskaloosa campus and Jill Konfrst, ARNP, at the New Sharon Medical Center. For an appointment in Oskaloosa, call 641-672-3360. In New Sharon, call 641-637-2651.
Another opportunity to receive a flu vaccination will be Public Health’s Drive-Thru Clinic on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 7 am to Noon in the Mahaska Health West parking lot, located at 1225 C Avenue East. Malloy said the Drive-Thru Clinic gives people an extra chance to get vaccinated, and they don’t even have to get out of their vehicles.
“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 indicate that protection lasts about a year,” said Malloy.
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,” the nasal-spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy people, age 2-49 years of age. The mist is not recommended for everyone. Check with your healthcare provider before receiving the nasal-spray.
MHP Specialty Services and Public Health participate in the VFC program that provides flu vaccines to Medicaid and underinsured children ages 6 months to 18 years old.
Otherwise, through Specialty Services, standard co-pays apply. At the Public Health Walk-in and Drive-thru Clinics, the cost is $20 for the shot and $25 for the nasal spray or “flu-mist.” Medicare Plan B can be billed with proof of card.
For more information regarding flu vaccination clinics, to schedule an evening appointment or if you or someone you know is homebound and may need assistance getting vaccinated, call MHP Public Health at 641-673-3257.