OREGON COUNTY -- The Oregon County Health Department offered two flu vaccine clinics last week, both Oct. 25.
Oregon Country Health Department Administrator Sheila Russell said 235 people were vaccinated at the Thayer Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center and 120 people were vaccinated at the Alton Senior Citizen Center.
"These two flu vaccination clinics will be the only two the health department will offer," Russell said.
She said any Oregon County resident is still welcome to come to either the Thayer Health Department office or the Alton Health Department office and receive a flu shot.
The Alton office is open Monday through Friday and the Thayer office is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
"We usually don't receive our flu vaccine this early," Russell said. She said it is usually not available until the end of the month, but because she was fortunate enough to buy the vaccine from a different source, the shots were available early this year.
"We started out with 1,200 doses. We will give them (the flu shots) at either health department office for as long as they last," Russell said.
She said the health department always offers the flu shots at the senior centers in the county first.
Russell said the shots are covered by Medicare or they cost $20 each.
Russell said although there is a nasal spray flu vaccine available, the health department offers only the flu shot injection. A nurse with the health department, Tina Blankenship, said the health department decided not to offer the nasal spray as an alternative because there are too many side effects from the spray.
"The injection contains three different killed vaccine strains. The nasal spray contains three different live, but weakened, influenza viruses. The viruses in both vaccines are grown in eggs," Russell said.
The injection can be given to people ages 6 months and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children younger than 9 who have not ever had an influenza vaccine should get two doses at least 30 days apart.
Russell said doctors advise anyone 65 or older to get the vaccine. "Also those who have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma and women who will be pregnant during the flu season," she said.
Russell said other high risk people that might consider getting a vaccine are those who have close contact with the sick, as well as people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.