Families encouraged to get vaccinated at this weekend clinic, especially if uninsured and underinsured
Austin Public Health (APH), Austin Independent School District and community partners are hosting the annual Boo the Flu (and COVID, too!) clinic this Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Allison Elementary School. Seasonal flu, COVID-19 shots and updated (bivalent) boosters will be available.
"We know a lot of children are getting upper respiratory illnesses already this fall," said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "The flu season has started, and I really want to see more families getting flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. We need to set our community up for success before the holidays."
Late this summer, health experts shared concerns about the upcoming flu season based on trends observed in the Southern Hemisphere. The highest flu rates reported in Australia this year were among children.
Everyone 6 months and older is eligible for a flu vaccine in the U.S. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that pediatric coverage rates are much lower than they were before the pandemic. Young children 6 months - 4 years became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in June, and only about 5% of this age group in Travis County is fully vaccinated. Children 5-11 years have been eligible for almost a year, and only 40% in Travis County have completed their primary series.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time. APH’s vaccination team--recently certified as an Exemplary Provider--will administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines during the clinic Saturday. They’ll offer COVID-19 primary series doses (Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax) and updated boosters (Moderna and Pfizer).
"This fun, family-friendly clinic is a great opportunity to get up to date with your vaccines," said Adrienne Sturrup, APH director. "Our Mobile Vaccination Program has been staffing smaller pop-up events, and they’re excited to help even more families get extra protection before cold/flu season and while COVID-19 is still in the community."
Expect games, treats, and community resources at Boo the flu and COVID, too! Allison Elementary is located at 515 Vargas Rd. Spanish interpreters will be on-site.
Free at-home test kits and PCR testing are available at APH’s Metz Elementary testing site (84 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St., Austin, TX 78702), and the Department of Health and Humans Services lists community-based testing sites online.
Free masks (N-95 respirators)
Use the CDC’s mask-locator tool to find pharmacies near you that provide free masks (N95 respirators). It does not show current inventories, so check with the location for availability.