Have you gotten the shot?
No, not THAT shot. The flu shot to stave off the predominant strains of influenza expected to hit North America during the flu season of 2021-2022. Right now, the H1N1 strain plus several other flu variants are being covered by the shot offered around the region.
Christine Gayman, spokeswoman for Hy-Vee Corporation, said the grocery store has been offering flu shots for years because getting a flu shot is an important part of staying healthy, especially as the U.S. is expecting a busier flu season this winter than last year.
"Last year, (flu) rates were lower, but people masked all year and most kids were doing distance learning so they were not in school," Gayman said. "This led to a decrease in illness across the board."
For convenience, people can either schedule an appointment for a flu shot at their Hy-Vee pharmacy or walk-in anytime. The retailer has also scheduled drive-thru clinics at Hy-Vee pharmacy locations, 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to Saturdays.
"All Hy-Vee pharmacy locations have the regular and high-dose versions available," Gayman said. "The high dose is recommended for people over 65 generally. People fill out a questionnaire and if they have questions, our pharmacists will talk it through with you as a patient."
While Hy-Vee is an option in many communities where the retailer offers pharmacy services, Gayman said many people will get their shots as part of a regular visit to their health care provider or through county health services where available.
Brenda Pohlman, a health educator for Fillmore County, said the county is still offering flu shot clinics Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. But shots will be available only as long as supplies last through the county's public health offices at 902 Houston St. NW, Preston. The county is offering both standard and high-dose vaccines for the flu.
"Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the flu," Pohlman said.
Two Hy-Vee pharmacies offer flu shots within the county – there are locations in Preston and Spring Valley – but anyone interested in flu shots should also look to any pharmacy, such as Sterling Pharmacy locations in Rushford and Harmony.
Goodhue County Public Health is offering flu shot clinics throughout October and well into November.
Residents can get shots at the Health and Human Services building – walk-ins are welcomed but appointments are encouraged – in Red Wing. For questions, county residents can call (651) 385-3200.
As for the countywide clinics, those will continue in Cannon Falls at Middle/High School from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 18, at Goodhue Public School from 3:30-6 p.m. Oct. 18, at Cannon Falls Elementary School from 3:30- 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19, at Red Wing High School from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 26, at Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School from 3:30-6 p.m. Nov. 1, at Kenyon Wanamingo Elementary School from 3-6 p.m. Nov. 11, at Kenyon Wanamingo Middle/High School from 3-6 p.m. Nov. 11, at Twin Bluff School in Red Wing from 3-6 p.m. Nov. 16.
Registration for the clinics can be done at my.primary.health/r/goodhue-community-flu?registration_type=default.
In other counties around the region, flu shots can be found:
In addition to pharmacies or medical clinics such as Mayo Family Clinic Kasson, the county is offering a walk-in flu clinic from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Dodge Center City Hall, 35 E. Main St., Dodge Center. The clinic will include both standard and two high-dose vaccine options. Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare Part B are accepted, but those with other insurance options should get a receipt to turn in for reimbursement.
Those interested in the walk-in clinic should register in advance at prepmod.health.state.mn.us/appointment/en/reg/5614729065.
While the county does not offer flu shot clinics through its public health office, residents can check with local pharmacies and their health care providers such as Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Austin.
Public Health plans to schedule a clinic for Oct. 29. Information on the times and location will be forthcoming, or residents can call (507) 328-7500 to schedule an appointment.
Otherwise, the county has several pharmacies in Rochester and beyond, plus health care providers offering flu vaccinations.
Wabasha County Public Health is not offering flu shots, but those interested in getting a flu shot can check with their local pharmacies in Lake City, Plainview and Wabasha.
For example, Gundersen St. Elizabeth's offers flu shots by appointment at its clinic or walk-ins are welcome at the outpatient pharmacy Tuesdays-Fridays from 2-4 p.m. For more information, contact Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s at (651) 565-5600.
Winona County Public Health does not offer flu shots through the county offices, but Winona Health Hospital offers free flu shot clinics several days a week through at its Parkview Office Building, 825 Mankato Ave., Winona. Flu shots are offered Mondays though Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and hours are extended on Wednesdays through 8 p.m. There will also be a weekend clinic on Oct. 30 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Flu shots are also available at Winona Health's Main Street Clinic, 107 W. Fourth St. in downtown Winona. The hours for those shots are Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.