Adair County Health Department offers drive-through flu clinic

A drive-through flu clinic will be conducted by the Adair County Health Department from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at the NEMO fairgrounds. Flu vaccines will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Student Health Center also has flu vaccinations available to students for $35 per injection in addition to a nursing visit fee. Brenda Higgins, associate vice president for student health and wellness, said most insurances cover immunizations through wellness visit coverage. 

Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department, said vaccines at the drive-through clinic will be free to students and other residents of Adair County. Last year the drive-through clinic provided 1,500 shots to the public. This year the department is expecting to provide closer to 2,000. 

LeBaron said he hoped some people who had never gotten a flu shot would consider getting one this year.

“I think Missouri is about 35% of people normally get their flu shot and so when you think about it, one in three, that’s pretty low,” LeBaron said. 

LeBaron said IDs or pre-registrations will not be required, but the department recommends people fill out a flu consent form which can be found at the Adair County website. If a person has a Medicaid or Medicare card, they should bring it with them. Those under 65 years old will receive the standard quadrivalent vaccine while those above 65 will receive the high-dose vaccine. 

A press release by the Adair County Health Department from Sept. 22 recommended  attendees of the drive-through clinic wear masks and clothes with short or loose sleeves so shots could be more easily injected. The press release also stated that if anyone has symptoms of COVID-19, they should refrain from coming. 

“We hope that everyone will get a flu vaccine this year so we can limit the number of people who are infected by the flu,” LeBaron said in the press release. “What we don’t want to have happen is taxing Northeast Regional Medical Center and other healthcare providers with flu patients during the time they’re also treating COVID-19 patients.” 

Higgins said she is recommending students get vaccinated early this year as opposed to the standard vaccination time of mid-October. 

She said this time last year students were starting to test positive for the flu, which was earlier than in past years. Since it takes a couple weeks to build up immunity after the vaccine is administered, she recommends students get the shot soon, as the flu season will likely start earlier. 

“My prediction is that the demand [for the flu vaccine] may be higher,” Higgins said. “I can foresee a number of parents encouraging their students to get the flu shot because they’re worried about COVID and influenza.”

Higgins said the number of students getting the flu shot might also be higher this year because students will want to avoid missing classes because of the flu. She said this could be especially true for students who had to miss classes while quarantined.