Free flu vaccines for children begin Monday

Sunday, September 29, 2013 | 4:14 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Free flu vaccinations will be available to children starting Monday at the Health Department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children begin receiving the flu vaccine at 6 months old, and the vaccine is free to anyone younger than 19. 

Flu vaccination at the Health Department:

Where: The Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St.

When: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Cost: Free for children 6 months to 18 years old; $25 for adults. Some insurance plans are accepted.

Call: 874-7356

The free vaccines are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Department of Public Health and Human Services at 1005 W. Worley St. Walk-ins are welcome.

Adults can also receive the vaccines during this time for $25. A list of accepted insurance plans and forms of payment is available on the Health Department's website.

Several pharmacies and health clinics also started offering flu shots in August.

During the previous flu season, which runs from October through May, there were more than 37,000 recorded flu cases in Missouri. This was an 81 percent increase from the five-season median, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

According to the CDC, it is difficult to predict the severity of any flu season, but the number of flu cases usually peaks around January or February.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent getting and spreading the flu, according to the CDC, but people can also prevent the spread of the disease by avoiding close contact with those who are infected, washing hands regularly, covering mouths when sneezing or coughing and staying home when sick.

For more information about the flu vaccine and its availability, call the Health Department at 874-7356 or visit its website.

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