Branson, MO (September 22, 2010)-  Since 1950, when Skaggs Regional Medical Center opened its doors, safety of the community and its patients has been top priority.  Starting 13 years ago Skaggs introduced to Taney and Stone Counties drive-thru flu shot clinics.

“These clinics allowed community members easy access to a vaccine that had limited inoculation sites,” says Connie Meier, Skaggs Infection Control Practitioner.  “Over the past 13 years accessibility has changed.  Now you can find influenza vaccine in physician’s offices, county health departments and retail pharmacies.”

“For the past two years Skaggs Regional Medical Center has seen a decline in its number of flu shots administered during the donation drive-thru clinics,” says Michelle Leroux, Skaggs Media Relations Specialist.  “This caused us to re-evaluate the need for this event.  With the increased availability of influenza vaccine at numerous sites, we know our community is being adequately served.”

Skaggs Regional Medical Center is providing flu shots for $15 at three special walk-in clinics:

* Forsyth Medical Care, 13852 U.S. Hwy 160; Friday, October 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
* Branson West Medical Care, 18452 State Hwy 13; Wednesday, October 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
* Skaggs Southside Family Clinic, 590 Birch Rd., Suite 1-C, Hollister; Thursday, October 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Skaggs clinics will also have ample supply of influenza vaccine to offer their patients.  Call your primary care provider to schedule an appointment.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.  The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

In 2009-2010, a new and very different flu virus, called 2009 H1N1, spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years.  During the 2010-2011 flu season, the CDC expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to cause illness again along with other influenza viruses.  The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other influenza viruses.

This flu season the CDC recommends everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season.  While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.  This group includes children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old; adults 65 years of age and older; pregnant women; and anyone who may have a chronic medical condition.

Individuals who should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician include people who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs; people who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past; people who developed Guillian-Barre’ syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously; children younger than six months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group); and people who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.

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