PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is offering flu shots at no cost at its centers with immunization clinics, as of Tuesday, February 13. No appointment is necessary.
Although the high-dose vaccine for seniors is in limited quantities, these locations have no-cost flu vaccines for adults and children:
St. Petersburg - 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.
Pinellas Park - 6350 76th Ave N.
Mid-County - 8751 Ulmerton Rd., Largo
Clearwater - 310 N. Myrtle Ave.
Tarpon Springs - 301 S. Disston Ave.
The Largo center at 12420 130th Ave. N. does not offer health services to the community and is not a location for no-cost flu shots.
For those who have still not received a flu shot this year, it's not too late. Annual vaccinations are safe and provide protection for each flu season.
"Getting vaccinated helps protect you and your loved ones. Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and children, older people and people with certain underlying health conditions.
Children need to be vaccinated as well. Last week, 52 percent of reported outbreaks were in daycare (17 percent) or school (35 percent) settings. Emergency department data from last week show that almost 20 percent of visits statewide are due to influenza-like illness in children younger than four.
Did you get a flu shot but still got the flu? Although the flu shot may not have prevented infection, it can still prevent serious life-threatening effects and length of the flu.
Flu vaccination not only protects the elderly but can also significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza. A recent CDC study showed vaccination prevents deaths by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children. All five pediatric flu deaths reported in Florida to date this year were in unvaccinated children.
Flu vaccination also may make illness milder if you do get sick. Another recent CDC study showed that flu vaccination reduced intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients."
According to DOH-Pinellas, antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. There is an adequate supply of antivirals in Florida, although the CDC is aware of some areas where there are delays in receiving new shipments. DOH recommends that you call ahead to your pharmacy for medication availability.