Free flu shot clinics begin October and Barnes-Jewish Hospital recommends everyone over the age of six months to get the shot
(KTRS) – For the 12th year Barnes-Jewish Hospital will offer free flu shots to the public.
Dr. Steven Lawrence is an Infectious Disease Specialist at the hospital and says they encourage everyone older than six months to get the vaccine. Dr. Lawrence says the flu is an unpredictable disease, it is currently impossible to determine the severity of the flu season or which strains of the flu will be present.
But the doctor also says there are some guarantees when it comes to influenza.
“There will be flu activity this year, just like every year”, said Lawrence. “There will be people who get sick, and unfortunately even some who will die from it. And the vaccine, even if it isn’t perfect, is still the best protection we have for ourselves, our family, and our community.”
The Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine for the 2014-2015 was only 19% effective. One influenza strain was responsible for the majority of infections–the H3N2 strain. That strain has been included in this year’s vaccine. The free shots being provided by Barnes-Jewish are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different strains of influenza.
Dr. Lawrence says there is some hope on the horizon that the time for yearly flu vaccines is nearing an end. He says flu researchers are making progress on a universal flu vaccine. Lawrence says this shot would provide protection for all different types of flu viruses and could be strong enough that patients would not need a booster shot every year.
Dr. Lawrence also reiterates, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. You can find a complete list of flu shot clinic locations and times here.