Although most of the nation’s focus is on COVID-19, seasonal influenza still exists and will be upon us once again. That’s why Winneshiek Medical Center is beginning to publicize its flu shot program.
Hospital workers are stressing that the seasonal influenza vaccine will NOT provide protection against COVID-19. They’re reminding the public to continue to practice COVID-19 safety precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing and regular hand washing, even after receiving the seasonal flu shot.
Influenza season generally begins in November and ends in March. It is best to get your flu shot in October or November so the protection offered by the vaccine carries you through to the end of flu season. Getting the vaccine too soon in the season may leave you unprotected in the later months. This year’s flu shot is the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses, and is for ages 6 months to 49 years. Flubloc, for ages 50-64 years and High Dose, for ages 65+, also protect against four different flu viruses. No flu mist will be offered, based on recommendations from the CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all people 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine. It is especially important for pregnant women to get vaccinated because of their increased risk for influenza-related complications. Pregnant women can get vaccinated during any trimester, including the first. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.
Winneshiek Medical Center will be offering drive-up flu shots, available only through an appointment. Walk in appointments will not be offered this year. Anyone with a scheduled appointment for another reason may also get a flu shot at that time. Flu shots charges will be submitted to your insurance.