MU Health Care offers drive thru COVID-19 and flu vaccination events
University of Missouri Health Care will soon offer Saturday drive-thru vaccination events for both the updated flu and the newly formulated COVID-19 vaccines – beginning this week.
Dr. Laura Morris, a vaccine expert with MU Health Care, said the flu vaccine will be available for anyone six months and older and the COVID vaccine will be available for those six years and older.
She said the idea behind the events is to eliminate barriers to vaccination.
“You can bring your whole family, there's no limit to the number of folks that can come in one car, and we can do a kid's vaccines, which I think is an important thing for busy families,” Morris said. “They don't have to make another appointment. They don't have to go someplace unfamiliar, and the parents and kiddos can get their vaccines at the same time.”
It is also safe and effective to receive the two vaccines together, and Morris recommends it.
“The best protection for the people that you love, the people that you work with, the people that you go to school with, is really to be vaccinated,” Morris added.
Morris said the system secured 1,500 doses of the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and they have no concerns about running out of the vaccine this weekend. MU Health Care is working to obtain more doses for future community and employee vaccination events.
“We will distribute it to all of our outpatient clinics and our outpatient pharmacies,” Morris said. “As soon as we get enough supply to be able to do that.”
MU Health Care will only provide mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.
During the last few months, there has been an uptick in COVID cases locally, but Morris said case levels are still far below previous pandemic highs and “our healthcare systems, our clinics, our hospitals, our emergency departments are still, you know, very capably handling the increased numbers of patients.”
For those who have recently had COVID-19, Morris said to wait at least 90 days after an infection before getting the new vaccine.
But she doesn’t recommend waiting to get the flu shot.
“This is prime flu shot getting time because the activity level in the community is still pretty low,” Morris said. “And most people will not have had an opportunity to have influenza in the last several weeks.”
She also spoke about the risk of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which has caused a significant number of hospitalizations the last few infectious disease seasons.
Currently, older, more vulnerable adults can obtain a prescription for a vaccine against the disease, and a new vaccine for infants and young children is expected soon.
“And just this week, [the] CDC released recommendations about vaccinating pregnant people for RSV so that their protection transmits to their infant,” Morris said. “And giving a prenatal vaccine is one of the most effective ways to help protect young infants.”
The drive thru clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the South Providence Medical Park. The clinic asks people to bring a current insurance card, if possible, but no payment is collected at the time of vaccination.
If uninsured or underinsured, people can check with local pharmacies about no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through the federal government’s Bridge Access Program, which is temporarily continuing free coverage of the shot through December 2024.
For more information, visit: https://www.muhealth.org/our-stories/where-get-your-flu-shot