Update: More clinics have been added to our list to help keep you healthy through the colder seasons.
by Madison V. Fisler
Oct. 23, 2013. The flu season has already begun in the High Country. To avoid the sniffles, the sneezes and all that comes with the flu, local pharmacists urge High Country residents to get vaccinated against the flu early if they haven’t already received their vaccinations.
“We have already been giving out flu shots for a few weeks now,” said John Stacy, a pharmacist at Boone Drug in Deerfield.
Vaccines and nasal mist for the influenza virus are available now at many local pharmacies. Though everyone should consider vaccinating themselves against the virus, the elderly, children and anyone with health problems are the most at risk for contracting the flu this season.
When Should I Get My Vaccination?
The Center for Disease Control recommends that flu vaccination begins as soon as the vaccine becomes available as the flu season is unpredictable and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to completely protect itself against the virus. It is best to get vaccinated early before the virus begins to spread through the community.
How Much Do Shots Cost and Are There Enough to Go Around?
The flu can cause mild to severe illness and in very rare cases can even lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
Stacy advises that flu vaccines are covered by most health insurance plans, and for those without coverage, shots can be received with a small charge.
Pharmacies in the High Country are well stocked to vaccinate the population against the flu this year, and as of now there are plenty of vaccines to go around.
“We are pretty well stocked on the flu shots,” Stacy said. “Though there is no way of telling how many we will be giving out in the near future, right now we have a good supply.
At Boone Drug, the flu shots cost $23.99 each and are available at Boone Drug in Deerfield Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and Boone Drug on King Street Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are welcome.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the 2011-2012 flu season set a new record the the shortest and lowest peak for flu illnesses. The season began late and was mild compared to most seasons. Though last year’s flu season was considered mild compared to past seasons, each year’s flu season is different and unpredictable, so every precaution should be taken to protect yourself against this pesky virus.
What if You’re an ASU Student?
For Appalachian State University students, flu shots can be found at M.S. Shook Student Health Services. Shots are given out, no appointment necessary, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Students should be prepared to wait 20 minutes after administration of the vaccine for observation. Make sure to bring your AppCard, though, as you need it to receive any kind of services.
What to Expect
Never had a flu shot before? No problem! Corey Furman, a pharmacist at Boone Drug on King Street in Boone explains the entire process.
When you walk in, talk to a pharmacist and tell them you would like a flu shot. The staff will give you paperwork to fill out, and once it is filed a pharmacist or a nurse will be out shortly to give you your vaccination, Furman said.
“The cost for the shot is $23.99, but for most people insurance covers it so it comes out free,” said Furman.
“From start to finish, the flu shot process is usually done within half an hour. There is a small wait time because of the paperwork and then we ask you to stay for about ten minutes for observation, just to make sure there is no allergic reaction.”
The Boone Drug at Deerfield and on King Street give out flu vaccines Monday through Friday, and the other locations will have their clinic hours posted within the next two weeks. No appointment is necessary for your flu shot.
Area Flu Shot Clinics
For some, the flu shot may be available for free or at reduced cost through some area programs.
- The Boone Community Care Clinic will be giving out reduced cost shots to existing patients of the clinic starting in October
- A flu shot clinic will be held at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center in Boone from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24. Flu vaccinations are free if participants have Medicare Part B; bring your Medicare card or other insurance cards. For those without insurance, shots will cost $29.99. No appointment is necessary.
- The Watauga Health Department is also offering vaccines. Vaccines are available immediately and anyone who is interested in getting immunized can call for an appointment or walk in during normal business hours (8 a.m.-4:45 p.m.) to receive the vaccine. This year, in addition to providing flu vaccine to insured adults and children, they also have free flu vaccine but is only available for uninsured children age 6 months to 18 years, or pregnant mothers who are uninsured. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicaid and Medicare.
Stay tuned, as we will post more clinics and programs as they become available.