Flu season is upon us — it’s time to get those vaccines!

Nadine Balbi, Immunizations Program Manager, for the Department of Health in Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about getting those important vaccinations.

Flu season is upon us.

Balbi said, “We’ve kicked it off with several pods. We have flu vaccines at all three of our clinics and we are full force administering flu vaccines. The CDC recommends that all persons greater than six months receive the annual flu vaccine. Certain individuals will need two that first flu season. That’s no problem at all. We schedule them six months apart at our clinic to receive those. We have Key West, Marathon and Tavernier.”

Why are flu shots so important?

Balbi said, “With the holidays coming, we have more gatherings. Even if you do indeed get the flu, this does reduce the symptoms associated with the flu. So even if you still get it, the symptoms will be lessened.”

Does the flu vaccine give you the flu?

Balbi said, “That is not true. It’s actually the antibody is developing in the body. So it’s your reaction to the vaccine basically. But you do not have the flu. That is a myth.”

Flu shots can also be gotten at any retail pharmacy as well as your primary care doctor.

Balbi said, “Regardless of cost, we will administer the flu vaccine. So depending on insurance or uninsured, free to little cost, we administer them.”

How can appointments be scheduled?

Balbi said, “They can go ahead and call the health department, it’s the main number for all three clinics, it would be 305-293-7500 to go ahead and schedule an appointment. We also offer pods upon request. So they can either go to our website or call to request a pod at their location. If there’s a business that wants a flu pod, we are more than happy to set up and do that at the business as well. It’s usually same day, we’re able to provide the vaccine same day if you call. So there is no wait time as of now. Every year, they do alter it a little bit with the virus changing so it’s important to get it annually.”

A Health to You event is coming up at the Big Pine Key Community Center.

Balbi said, “That will be January 17, from 2 to 4 and we will also have flu vaccines on site at that event as well as other vaccines.”

Travel vaccines are also provided. You will need to call for an appointment.

For more information, click here:  https://monroe.floridahealth.gov/index.html