With flu season fast approaching, CG Public Health is urging the community to take advantage of all the vaccines for which they are eligible. Whether it’s for their first or second COVID-19 vaccination, a booster or third dose to combat waning immunity or the flu shot, get vaccinated.
“It is so important to get your flu vaccine and your COVID-19 vaccine,” says Jeni Stiles, disease prevention assistant manager for CG Public Health. “Both viruses create incredibly nasty respiratory infections and getting a shot to protect you from one virus won’t offer any protection from the other, so get both.” COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to anyone aged 12-years of age or older and flu vaccines are available to anyone aged six-months or older.
CG Public Health will have walk-in flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Mason City Parks & Rec Department in October and November. The Mason City Parks and Rec Department is located at 100 S. Federal Ave., inside the Southbridge Mall in Mason City. Masks will be required.
Clinic times and dates are:
• Wednesday, Oct. 20,
2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 27,
2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Oct. 30,
9 a.m. - Noon
• Saturday, Nov. 6,
9 a.m. - Noon
COVID-19 vaccines available include the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, first and second dose. The Moderna third dose and Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose will be available to eligible individuals.
Flu vaccines available include both regular and high dose.
There is no charge nor billing to insurance for COVID-19 vaccines. Insurance will be billed for flu vaccines. Current insurance accepted at CG Public Health includes Amerigroup, Iowa Total Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and traditional Medicare; otherwise, the out-of-pocket cost is $48 dollars for regular dose flu vaccine and $95 for high dose flu vaccine.
Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms of influenza include fever (usually high), headache, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue, body aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. All these symptoms are also symptoms of COVID-19. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that you stay home and isolate yourself from others if you feel symptomatic.
Do not leave your house unless urgent medical attention is needed.
“Because COVID-19 and flu share so many symptoms, it can be difficult to tell them apart based on symptoms alone,” says Stiles. “Whether you suspect you have COVID-19, or influenza, it is very important to notify your medical provider and follow their guidance.” In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
•Fast breathing or trouble breathing
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or not interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash
Preventative practices for COVID-19 and seasonal flu share many similarities. Individuals should practice the following measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and seasonal flu.
•Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
•Practice social distancing in public, staying 6 feet away from others.
•Wearing a mask in public or anywhere where social distancing is difficult.
•Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
•Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
•Staying home when you are sick.
For more information about influenza, COVID-19, influenza and COVID-19 prevention, or the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine, call 641-421-9300 or visit the website at www.cghealth.com.