ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO – The St. Charles County Department of Public Health will partner with area organizations to provide free flu shots for those ages 6 months and older during a drive-through vaccination clinic from 2:30-7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, on the Yellow Parking Lot at St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid-Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville.
Appointments are necessary to receive these vaccinations and may be scheduled online at https://sccmo.as.me/flufighters or by calling 636-949-1899.
Two types of vaccinations will be offered:
- Quadrivalent influenza vaccination – Protects against the four most prevalent flu viruses expected this season: H1N1, H3N2 and two influenza B viruses. It is appropriate for those ages 6 months and older.
- High-dose influenza vaccination – Provides additional protection for those ages 65 and older. It contains four times the amount of antigen than the standard vaccine to strengthen the body’s ability to create antibodies against the illness. A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated this vaccine was 24 percent more effective against influenza in those ages 65 and older than the traditional vaccination.
Assisting the Department of Public Health with this vaccination event are BJC Health Care (Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital), SSM Health (St. Joseph Hospitals in St. Charles, Lake Saint Louis, and Wentzville), St. Charles Community College, St. Charles County CAPS, and the St. Charles County Ambulance District.
Individuals or groups interested in assisting with event operations as a volunteer or sponsor should contact the St. Charles County Emergency Planner at 636-949-7554 before Oct. 1.
Why Get a Flu Vaccination?
Each year across the United States, vaccination prevents millions of illnesses; reduces the number of medical visits, hospitalization, and death from flu illness; and saves money through decreased medical costs and improved productivity. Recent studies have reported that flu vaccination reduced the risk for serious illness by more than 50 percent and the risk for flu-related death by 31 percent. Along with protecting the recipient, vaccination reduces the risk for illness across the entire community — including vulnerable neighbors who are not able to receive the shot due to age, health conditions or other restrictions.
“Countries in the southern hemisphere are reporting increased influenza activity during their winter,” says Sara Evers, Acting Director of the Department of Public Health. “In anticipation of the potential that this year may be more disruptive for us than the past several, the Department of Public Health recommends getting a flu shot now to allow protective antibodies to fully develop before the traditional flu season begins this fall.”
Additional Ways to Prevent the Flu
For those unable to participate in this free event, the St. Charles County Immunization Clinic will administer flu vaccinations throughout the season by appointment at 1650 Boone’s Lick Road in St. Charles. Flu shots through the clinic are $36 for the quadrivalent vaccine and $62 for the high-dose vaccine. To schedule an appointment, call 636-949-1857.
Along with vaccination, individuals can protect themselves against catching and spreading the flu through everyday preventative actions that include:
- Avoiding close contact with others, especially ones who are sick.
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Cleaning commonly touched surfaces with soap and water or an EPA approved disinfectant .
- Staying home if sick until fever and symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours.
- Practicing good health habits, including proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and hydration.
- Contacting your personal medical provider if you develop flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, head and/or body aches, fatigue, and nausea/diarrhea).