The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 19, 2013

UPDATE: $2 flu shots available Friday, mid-October in Athens

By Jean Cole

ATHENS — Limestone County residents can obtain a seasonal flu shot for $2 or less at Friday’s annual Be Ready Day, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the LImestone County Event Center at 114 W. Pryor St. in downtown Athens.

Flu vaccines will also be available for the same cost in mid-October during a drive-through clinic at the Limestone County Health Department at 20371 Clyde Mabry Drive, an official said.

The Centers for Disease Control advise people ages 6 months and older to obtain a yearly vaccine to prevent pandemic flu, ideally by October. Children, elderly and people with respiratory illnesses should certainly get a flu shot, according to Daphne McElyea, clinic supervisor at the Limestone County Health Department.

Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May, the CDC says. Manufacturers have produced between 135 and 139 million doses of vaccine for this year’s flu season, and ample supplies should be available in September and October.

McElyea said the Health Department is in the process of setting up its annual drive-through clinic for mid-October. The all-day event allows people to obtain a low-cost or no-cost flu shot quickly.

In the mean time, residents can obtain a flu shot at the Health Department from 8 to 11 a.m. or from 1 to 3 p.m., though McElyea is asking those with lower risks of contracting flu to wait until after the drive-through clinic to ensure there will be enough vaccine for that event.

“We have a limited number of vaccines and we don’t want to do a lot of advertising for an event and then have no vaccine,” she said.

Again, the cost is $2 for the uninsured and free to those receiving Medicaid or Medicare benefits, she said.

Be Ready Day event

If you don’t want to wait, come to Friday’s Be Ready Day, which will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Limestone County Event Center in Athens.

During the event, residents can learn more about the role of local responders in preventing and responding to disasters and see response-equipment demonstrated. There will be activities for children, giveaways, free lunch and flu shots.