CLAYTON – With influenza season arriving, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health are urging all county residents six months of age and older to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.
To help combat seasonal illness, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health will be hosting two flu vaccination clinics during October.
“This isn’t just about protecting yourself, although that certainly is important,” said Stenger. “If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the illness to others.”
“Getting the flu vaccine and encouraging your loved ones to get vaccinated are important steps in protecting yourself, your family and the community against the flu,” Dr. Fredrick Echols, Director of the Communicable Disease Control Services at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health said. “Even if you encounter a flu strain not included in the vaccine, having been vaccinated will help decrease the severity of your symptoms and the length of your illness.”
Every year, the seasonal influenza vaccine offers protection against different influenza types, based on recommendations from experts who determine which types are most likely to be circulating in the fall.
While the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination by the end of October if possible, other standard precautions being urged by the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health include:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
- Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.
If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will host two clinics on Saturday, October 27 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. to provide flu vaccines. The flu vaccine clinics will be held at John C. Murphy Community Health Center, 6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley and at South County Community Health Center, 4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard.
Flu shots are also available at the following Department of Public Health Center locations during regular hours of operation:
John C Murphy Health Center
6121 North Hanley Road Berkeley, MO 63134
South County Health Center
4580 South Lindbergh Blvd Sunset Hills, MO 63127
North Central Community Health Center
4000 Jennings Station Road Pine Lawn, MO 63121
The costs of the vaccine through the Department of Public Health’s are as follows:
- Uninsured children will receive the vaccination for free.
- Insured adults and children will be billed through their medical insurance provider.
- Uninsured adults will only pay $25.
Certain children will not be able to receive the influenza vaccine at these clinics. These include:
- Children who have taken influenza-antiviral drugs 48 hours prior to the vaccination date.
- Children who are allergic to eggs.
- Children ages 2 to 4 who have asthma or a history of wheezing in the past 12 months.
- Children who have chronic health issues.
If your children have any of the conditions listed above, please talk to your health care provider about other vaccination options and ways to protect your children during the flu season. Additionally, adults with a severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
Vaccines available for the 2018-2019 influenza season include:
Trivalent influenza vaccines will contain the following three vaccine virus strains:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus, and
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (Victoria lineage)
Quadrivalent (four-component) influenza vaccines will include the strains listed above and an additional vaccine virus strain:
- B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).
Some Quadrivalent vaccines are available to be delivered via nasal mist rather than injection. These mist vaccines should not be given to the following groups:
- Children aged 2 through 4 years who have received a diagnosis of asthma or whose parents or caregivers report that a health care provider has told them during the preceding 12 months that their child had wheezing or asthma or whose medical record indicates a wheezing episode has occurred during the preceding 12 months;
- Persons who are immunocompromised due to any cause (including immunosuppression caused by medications and HIV infection);
- Close contacts and caregivers of severely immunosuppressed persons who require a protected environment;
- Pregnant women; and
- Persons who have received influenza antiviral medications within the previous 48 hours.
Please visit the Department of Public Health’s immunization clinics and flu website (www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com) for information on alternative sites to receive the seasonal flu vaccination.
For more information about the flu vaccine, visit: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm