With more than 11,000 cases of the flu reported in Missouri this season, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is encouraging people to get flu vaccines.

In a news release, the department reported 11 deaths from influenza-associated illnesses and more than 11,000 cases of the flu.

“Flu vaccination remains the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications,” the release said.

The vaccination can prevent the flu and has been shown to reduce the severity of illness in vaccinated people who still get sick, according to the release.

Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said in the release that the peak time of the flu season still lies ahead.

“Now is the time to protect yourself and your children with a flu shot. It’s not too late,” Williams said in the release.

According to the department, anyone over 6 months old is encouraged to get the vaccinate. Pregnant women are also highly encouraged so their baby is protected from the virus until he or she is old enough to receive the vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in its Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report that the highest rate of hospitalization because of flu-related symptoms is among individuals aged 65 and up.

The second highest rate of hospitalization is among children 4 years old and younger. In its first weekly update of 2020, the center reported 32 influenza-associated pediatric deaths this flu season.

Information on how to prevent the flu, how the flu spreads, symptoms and what people with the flu should do can be found at the bottom of the release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department offers flu vaccines at its office at 1005 W. Worley St. The department’s immunizations page states there is a small fee for immunizations, but no one will be turned away due to an inability to pay. It accepts walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Walgreens Pharmacy also provides flu shots. Its website states there is no cost for the shot with most insurance providers. Those looking to receive the vaccine can schedule an appointment online or walk in.

Supervising editor is Hannah Hoffmeister.

  • General assignment reporter, Winter 2019. Studying magazine writing.

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