The 2018-19 influenza season is officially underway and local health officials encourage citizens to get vaccinated to avoid the risk of getting bit by the flu bug.
Amy Bate, health promotion coordinator and public information officer for the Tooele County Health Department, said now is the ideal time to get vaccinated.
“It’s important to get a shot early in the flu season,” Bate said. “It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take effect, so now is a good time. The flu season has begun, so the sooner the better.”
She added now is also a good time to get vaccinated before the weather turns colder and people stay indoors more, which increases the risk of infection.
Bate said flu vaccinations are available at the county health department Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. She said most insurance plans are accepted. Self-pay is $30 per vaccination, but anyone under 18 years of age and without health insurance qualifies for free vaccinations.
She also said high-dose vaccinations for anyone 65 or older are also available. Self-pay is $58 per dose. The health department is located at 151 N. Main St., Tooele.
Bate said the health department does have flu mist, but because of a limited supply, it isn’t currently available at the health department offices.
“We’re taking the flu mist to the flu clinics at the schools,” she said. “We may have more available, but it’s just that we have a limited supply right now.”
Flu vaccinations are also available at several local clinics, pharmacies and other outlets in the community.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all citizens at least 6 months old through adulthood should be vaccinated by the end of October before the flu begins to spread through the community. The flu season begins every fall and can last through spring, with peak time December through February.
According to the Tooele County Health Department, the health department and Tooele County School District are partnering to help protect students and teachers against the flu. School nurses and TCHD staff will offer flu clinics at local schools starting next week.
Clinics will begin at 9 a.m. and will be open until all grades are completed. Parents are welcome to attend with their child. Vaccines will be available for students, parents and siblings if they attend together. The vaccine will cover four strains of influenza.
A consent form with screening questions will need to be completed for each child to qualify for immunization. The form should be completed prior to and brought to school the day of the clinic. The consent form is available on the health department’s website at tooelehealth.org/flu-clinics/.
The health department will administer flu clinics at the following local schools: Oct. 15 – Middle Canyon Elementary and Settlement Canyon Elementary; Oct. 16 – Sterling Elementary and West Elementary; Oct. 17 – Copper Canyon Elementary and Northlake Elementary; Oct. 22 – Overlake Elementary and Clarke N. Johnsen Jr. High School; Oct. 23 – Grantsville Elementary and Willow Elementary; Oct. 24 – Grantsville Jr. High School and Grantsville High School; Oct. 25 – Rose Springs Elementary, Stansbury Elementary and Stansbury High School; Oct. 29 – Vernon Elementary, Dugway Schools, Ibapah Elementary, Blue Peak High School and St. Marguerite School; Oct. 30 – Wendover High School and Anna Smith Elementary; Nov. 1 – Old Mill Elementary and Bonneville Academy; and Nov. 2 – Excelsior Academy and Scholar Academy.
For more information, call 435-277-2301 or visit tooelehealth.org/flu-clinics. More comprehensive information about influenza, prevention, treatment and the 2018-19 influenza season is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.