HCM Flu Shot Locations
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Flu vaccinations are available at certain HCM locations for $40, cash payment is accepted.
Flu-Ask The Expert: The importance of Flu vaccines this season
James Partin, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Hill Country Memorial, addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the approaching flu season and the importance of testing and vaccination.
How does the presence of COVID-19 affect the coming flu season and specifically the need for an annual flu shot?
Getting a flu shot is more important than ever. Because of the presence of COVID-19, hospitals in the area are starting out the flu season with a number of patients already in ICUs and regular wards. So the more influenza we can prevent, the better off health care systems will be at dealing with the levels of care it’s going to take to treat that number of people.
What is the importance of getting a flu shot for the individual?
People need to remember there is a significant number of worldwide deaths from influenza every year. So we have to deal with that on top of COVID-19. But remember, the flu vaccine is relatively effective.
How will this flu season be different from past years?
This is the first year we’ve changed up the vaccine as much as we have. Our typical flu vaccine contains four different strains of influenza; this year three of the four strains are changed from last year.
What are some repercussions of dealing with COVID-19 and influenza at the same time?
What makes us concerned is the fact that symptoms of COVID and influenza overlap significantly. It is not easy to diagnose COVID and the various strains of flu from symptoms alone. What is likely to happen is there will be testing simultaneously for both COVID and the flu.
How is HCM and the local medical community addressing testing?
At Hill Country Memorial we are getting equipment that gives us the ability to do more testing and differentiate between the various flu strains and COVID.
It will make us use a lot more of our testing kits than we are now. Hopefully as time goes on, we’ll ramp up with more tests, and more rapid and simpler tests, such as the saliva test for COVID. The FDA has authorized their use, so possibly by mid to late fall there may be an over-the-counter test where people can actually test themselves. We have been doing screening tests for influenza for years, which is basically a nasal swab that is relatively effective.
What is the recommendation for getting a flu vaccine?
Contact your primary care provider for testing and treatment. We will be transitioning more of this testing from the hospital back into the primary care offices. They are capable of dealing with both influenza and COVID-19 in a very effective, safe manner.
Local pharmacies as well are giving flu vaccines. They also carry the high-dose influenza vaccine recommended for those 65 and older. I got mine in August.
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