Free, drive-through flu vaccines are now available for St. Louis County residents by registering online at https://tinyurl.com/StlCountyFluShots for an appointment at two St. Louis County Department of Public Health locations. The north location is John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6121 N. Hanley Rd, Berkeley, Mo. 63134. The south county location is South County Health Center, located at 4580 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Sunset Hills, Mo. 63127.
Receiving the flu shot while staying inside a vehicle is a socially distanced way to avoid illness during the ongoing pandemic.
“We are taking all those precautions and you can get in and out of a flu shot in a few minutes,” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “And a few minutes of contact with a health care provider when you both have a mask on is an extraordinarily low risk event with a high reward of preventing flu for an individual, but also keeping flu from spreading into our community.”
Every year, usually between October and May influenza spreads around the United States. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for infants and young children, people age 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system. They are at greatest risk of flu complications.
Common symptoms of influenza are similar to some symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, coughing, congestion, difficulty breathing. Flu shots do not prevent COVID-19. Getting a flu shot decreases your chances of getting the flu or becoming hospitalized with flu complications.
“It’s actually important to protect yourself from the flu and to make sure you don’t get the flu and give it to someone else, because having two respiratory pandemics at the same time is not 1+1 – it’s much broader than that. It has a much broader multiplier effect in the way it overwhelms our community,” Page said. “But getting the flu shot will in no way make you more susceptible to COVID.”
Influenza kills thousands of people each year in the U.S. annually. During the 2018-2019 flu season, the latest numbers available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths.
Based on CDC recommendations, persons age 6 months and older should get the flu shot, unless they have a medical reason not to do so. The County is accepting pediatric patients for flu shots.
“We’ll give as many people a flu shot as can get an appointment and get to one of our facilities,” Page said.
Another thing to remember, you must be generally well and without a fever or flu-like symptoms to get a flu shot.
A St. Louis County Department of Public Health spokesperson said there is “no contraindication to getting a flu shot with a mild cold, but it is generally not recommended if someone is fevering.”
Additionally, residents in St. Louis County can register to get their flu shot and take a COVID-19 test at the two flu shot locations. However, the appointments need to be made separately, but timed close to one another.
“Independent appointments need to be made close to each-other and then upon arrival, inform staff you are doing both,” the spokesperson said. “These appointments are at John C. Murphy and South County locations only.”
If you have more questions or need assistance, call 314-615-0574.