Don’t forget the flu shot.

While influenza had an incredibly light season last winter amid the Covid-19 pandemic, health officials are encouraging people to take the usual precautions, including the seasonal flu shot. The vaccination is now widely available for insured adults through pharmacies and private physicians, and it recently became available at county health departments for people who are uninsured, under-insured and those who meet certain high-risk criteria.

October is generally the most popular time for the flu shot.

“We do thousands of flu shots every year, and we probably do half of those in the month of October,” said Walgreens Store Manager Brandon Voyles.

The store has around 20 clinics booked so far for employers, schools and nursing homes.

At Medical Plaza, “We are already seeing a pretty good number of people coming through getting the flu vaccine,” said Andy Null, manager and pharmacist.

The flu shot is an important protective step, he said, “especially since we’ve seen so much more of RSV in children. We’ve seen a lot of that recently.”

For those who have not yet received the Covid-19 vaccine, it can be done at the same time as a flu shot. Voyles said the pharmacy will recommend one shot in each arm.

The Mississippi State Department of Health advises that it is not a problem to take the flu and Covid-19 vaccines at or near the same time.

“There is no minimum amount of time you need to wait between these vaccinations,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We recommend getting vaccinated now before we reach peak flu activity.”

It is especially important for young children, those over 65 and those with underlying health problems, he said. The flu season typically peaks between December and February. Health officials believe the last flu season was tamped down by the masking and work-from-home and school-from-home precautions that were in place for Covid-19.

Null said Medical Plaza is continuing to see much interest in the Covid-19 vaccine, with the new availability of boosters adding to that interest.

Voyles said it was particularly busy at Walgreens a month or two back, with many children getting vaccinated after the Phizer age dropped to 12 and older.

MSDH advises those who want to get the shot at a county health department to call that location for an appointment. Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can get a flu shot for $10. Insurance, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program is accepted for children’s flu shots.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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