Local health depts. getting ready for flu shot season

By Dawndy Mercer Plank - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For the 2008-2009 flu season, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it's received more than 24,000 positive reports for the flu.

Despite that alarming number, that's a significant decrease in cases from the previous year.

Since it first surfaced in April, more than 500 cases of swine flu have been confirmed.

Just this week, H1N1, or swine flu, claimed its first life in South Carolina.

With the increased concern about the H1N1 virus, there's a lot more attention on getting a flu shot.

Remember, the two-part vaccination for swine flu will be available late October, early November.

The vaccine for the common seasonal flu though is here, but only in limited places for now.

There are four CVS minute clinics in the Columbia/Lexington County area.

You can walk into any of the four pharmacies without an appointment and get the seasonal flu vaccine for $30. Most insurances are accepted.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants at the minute clinics say they're already very busy.

Kmart pharmacies also will offer the seasonal flu shots [ on specific dates from 9am - 1pm beginning next week.

  • Ft. Jackson Boulevard on Sept. 11
  • West Main Street in Lexington on Sept. 16
  • Charleston Highway in West Columbia on Sept. 24
  • Camden on Sept. 25.
  • St. Andrews Road on Oct. 3.

The price will be $25 and free for patients with a red, white and blue Medicare card. You can call now to make an appointment.

In about three weeks, your county health departments will begin getting in their supply of vaccines. The cost is $25.

Local health departments aren't ready to take appointments until mid-September to early October.

Keep in mind not all doctors charge normal office rates. South Carolina Internal Medicine Associates inside the Irmo Professional Building will have $25 seasonal flu shots on Oct. 13 from 4pm - 7pm.

Medicare Part B patients get the shot free. The shots will be given on the first floor in the Providence Health Education Room.

A little calling around can mean finding shots you can afford to avoid an illness that otherwise could cost you a lot.

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