Health officials partner with retailer for flu shots

ALBANY — Seven of Southwest Public Health District’s health departments are partnering with retail giant Walmart stores in their communities to offer seasonal influenza vaccinations, says District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

The first store-based flu clinic will be 4 p.m.-8 p.m. today at the Walmart on Cordele Road in East Albany, said Dougherty County Health Department Immunization Coordinator Alice Rodman. Nurses and clerks will be on hand to ensure administration of the vaccine is quick and convenient, she said.

The cost is $25 per dose. The health departments accept Medicaid, Medicare and many common insurance carriers as well as cash.

Other health departments partnering with their local Walmarts include the Decatur Health Department in Bainbridge, the Lee County Health Department in Leesburg, the Grady County Health Department in Cairo, the Mitchell County Health Department in Camilla, the Colquitt County Health Department in Moultrie and the Thomas County Health Department in Thomasville. Some of them have yet to set dates and/or times, while others plan to offer shots every Friday in October.

“Please check with your local county health department if you are in one of the participating communities and you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, Grant said.

Seasonal flu can cause mild to severe illness – and even death, Grant said. “Some people, such as older adults, young children and people with chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease are at high risk for serious flu complications,” she said.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older as the first and best way to protect against influenza.

For more information about the seasonal flu vaccine, contact your local health department or go to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org or www.cdc.gov.