KHI News Service

KU Hospital to offer free flu shots Saturday

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | October 15, 2012

Photo courtesy KU Hospital

Free flu shots will be available Saturday near KU Hospital, the 18th year the hospital has offered vaccines to drive-up customers. This photo was taken during last year's event.

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The University of Kansas Hospital will be offering free, drive-thru flu shots this Saturday.

The shots — which include both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations — will be available without appointment to the first 5,000 people between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Oct. 20 in the parking lot just east of 36th and Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kan. (map.) Anyone age 8 and older may receive a shot free of charge. KU officials said they also will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items for Harvesters at the event.

“Late October to early November is the best time of year for a flu vaccination,” said Dr. William Barkman, chief of staff at KU Hospital. “Since the body’s immune system takes time to respond to vaccine, it should be given one to two weeks before the flu season begins in order to stimulate enough antibodies to prevent infection.”

State health officials recommend an annual flu shot for almost everyone 6 months and older. Some children age 6 months to 8 years may need two shots this year.

People who should not receive the vaccine include those who have an allergy to eggs, and anyone who has ever been paralyzed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. People who have a cold or fever should wait until they have recovered. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should check with their health care provider.

KU Hospital officials said those under 8 should see their primary care physician.

Flu shots are also widely available at local health departments and many doctors' offices and pharmacies. This map identifies vaccine availability by area.

Every year, 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu. Some people — including infants, children, elders and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Find more information on vaccines and the flu at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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