(FOX 9) - Allina Health Clinics, CVS, Walgreens and others says they have new flu vaccines available. Everyone over the age of six months is encouraged to get a flu shot, especially during the current pandemic.
“This year it’s doubly important because the symptoms of influenza and the symptoms of COVID are very hard to tell apart,” said Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Priya Sampathkumar.
The symptoms are typically a fever, sore throat, muscle aches and pains. It could either be the flu or COVID-19.
“And we treat those two things differently,” said Sampathkumar. “There is medications for influenza, there’s no medications for COVID. The testing will be somewhat limited come fall. So, it’s important if you get the flu vaccine you won’t get influenza, you won’t be presenting for care, you won’t be stressing the medical system.”
Allina patients will need to make an appointment to get the new vaccine, which is expected to be effective against the four most likely flu strains. If you already have an appointment for another reason, you will be offered a vaccine at that time. Non Allina patients can also make an appointment to get the vaccine.
"Getting an influenza vaccination is especially important with COVID-19 still very active in our community,” said Allina Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Frank Rhame in a press release. “Co-infection with COVID-19 and influenza produces more serious disease. Since the flu and COVID-19 produce similar symptoms, it is even more important for people to get the flu shot as a way to reduce the likelihood of needing to use precious supplies, like tests, to rule out a COVID-19 infection. Getting a flu shot is one simple way people can contribute to the efforts to combat COVID-19 this year.”
WHERE TO GET A FLU SHOT
To schedule a vaccine shot at CVS click here.
To schedule a vaccine shot at Walgreens click here.
M Health Fairview is also offering vaccines at its clinics and pharmaciesThe COVID-19 pandemic and influenza pose a looming double threat to people across Minnesota this year. You can drive up to one of five curbside care clinics, walk in, or make an appointment. For more information, click here.
HealthPartners is offering drive-up flu vaccine clinics starting on Sept. 8 and running through Oct. 31 in addition to in-clinic flu shot appointments.
Both drive-up and in-clinic flu shots will require an appointment. Scheduling can be made by phone or online here. HealthPartners will not offer walk-in flu shots this year. Flu shots for children 0-2 can only be made in clinic. Children 2 to 12 can only receive the flu mist in the drive-up clinic, but they can get either the flu shot or flu mist in clinic.