Flu Vaccine

Franklin County Health Department officials say they still have plenty of flu vaccine available.

It is recommended that people get the shot, especially since high levels of flu activity are expected to continue for several more weeks, said Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist with the county health department.

As of Tuesday, the county health department has had 240 reported cases of flu compared to more than 480 in the same time last year.

The age breakdown of this year’s reported cases is 0-2, 27; 2-4, 20; 5-14, 33; 15-24, 30; 25-49, 78; 50-64, 38; and 65+, 14.

But Buel noted that just because there were more reported cases this time last year does not mean there will be fewer cases this season.

The flu season can peak at different times each year.

Last year, it peaked at the end of December.

Buel said health officials have said the season may not peak this year until around mid February. Missouri is already reporting widespread flu activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has had more than 10,000 reported case of flu this season.

The health department only hears about flu cases that are reported by medical providers. There are people who get the flu and don’t go to a doctor, Buel said.

There have been no reported flu deaths in Franklin County this season.

The health department provides flu shots Monday through Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. No appointments are required.

The health department accepts most insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and self-pay with cash, checks and credit cards. The cost is $25.

Check the county’s website at www.franklinmo.org for a list of accepted insurance plans. Once on the county’s website go to the health department page and click the flu shot button.