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Officials say a finite number of shots spelled the end of the free flu immunization clinics this season in the Ozarks. Monday was the last day for uninsured adults to receive a flu shot free of charge offered by the Flu Immunization Coalition. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports on what those who missed out on the clinics can do to receive the vaccination.
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At the Council of Churches of the Ozarks in Springfield, uninsured people were filing inside to fill out paperwork and get their free flu shot. Mike Brothers, spokesperson for the Greene County Health Department, says there were only so many student nurses and doses of vaccinations to go around.
“It’s just a limited supply, I guess is really the basic answer because for these coalition clinics, the vaccine is donated,” Brothers said.
So what does that mean for the uninsured individuals who haven’t received the vaccination yet? Brothers says retailers and pharmacies like Walgreens offer flu shots, but it won’t be free.
“Those folks should talk to their healthcare provider if they have one. Just because they’re uninsured doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily have a provider, they may just have to pay out of pocket for that. Children are a different story. Children six months to 18 years old can still receive a no-cost vaccine, and do that they should call the immunization center at 874-1220,” Brothers said.
After five clinics this fall, Janice McCauley of Cox Health Senior Advantage says between 800 and 1000 people have been vaccinated thanks to the efforts of the Springfield Flu Immunization Coalition. The group targets people without insurance. She encourages people to get vaccinated by whatever means possible.
“About 30,000 people a year die in the United States every year from complications from influenza. Since the strains of the flu change every year, the vaccine changes every year,” McCauley said.
McCauley says these free flu shot clinics are offered every fall, before the flu season takes hold. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.