As the savory smell of Italian soup wafted through the room, Jennifer Watson and Kennedi Bark sat at folding table with paperwork, pamphlets, and syringes.
“We administered nine flu shots today,” Watson said.
The pair of health department registered nurses from Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said they had set up their table at the senior center later in the season than they hoped, but were still glad they were able to administer some inoculations.
She said they had been administering high-does shots for the seniors. “A high-dose flu shot is available specifically for persons age 65 and older.”
“The health department provides flu shots to all ages,” Watson said. “They are free to those 18 and under.” The department, she said, works with adults’ insurance providers to fund their inoculations.” She said if the adults are uninsured, the cost is $25.
The Boone County/Columbia Health Department will continue to offer flu shots until the vaccine expires in May, or supplies run out, Watson said.
“The single best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated,” PHHS Director Stephanie Browning said in a department news release. “In addition to protecting yourself, you are protecting the children, elderly and others in your life who are more at risk for becoming critically ill if you pass the virus on to them.”
Browning also said people with a severe egg allergy are advised to consult with their primary health provider about receiving the flu vaccine. Some individuals such as older people, young children, and those with certain health conditions have a greater risk of severe flu complications.
As Watson visited the tables of diner enjoying their Italian soup and rolls, Senior Center Board President Debi Ball talked about the visit.
“I think it’s great, I think it’s wonderful,” Ball, in her third year as board president said as she gave the center’s kitchen it’s after-lunch cleaning. “This is the third year they have done it here and it is definitely appreciated, though I do wish we could have had them earlier, in October during our birthday dinner.”
Jason Wilcox, senior planner for the health department said the the flu season began September 29, there have been nine reported cases of Influenza A and 12 of Influenza B. Since then the department has administered 9,057 in county schools and 1,825 through is various clinics and to Columbia city workers.