With the beginning of flu season upon us, Mahaska Health Partnership Public Health and the Medical Group have begun offering flu vaccinations.
“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 from 8 am to Noon and Thursdays 1 to 4 pm on the MHP campus, entrance #6. Vaccinations are available outside regular clinic times by appointment.
“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.
All of MHP’s Services in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program that provides flu vaccines to Medicaid and underinsured children ages 6 months to 18 years old.
Otherwise, through the Medical Group, standard co-pays apply. At Public Health, 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 or if you or someone you know is homebound and may need assistance getting vaccinated, call MHP Public Health at 641.673.3257.