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Health officials: It's time to give flu vaccine another shot

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

With flu season on its way, area hospitals are providing free flu shots beginning Monday.

Influenza activity typically begins to increase in October and lasts through April. During the 2018-19 season in the U.S., the flu caused between 37.4 million and 42.9 million illnesses in the U.S., resulted in between 531,000 to 647,000 hospitalizations and between 36,400 and 61,200 deaths, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends everyone over 6 months of age get a flu vaccine each year. The shot is especially important for those at high risk for developing complications: children younger than 5, adults 65 or older, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.

Michelle Jeon, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, says each flu season is different in severity and length.

“This is why it’s so critical for people to get their shot annually, ideally before the end of October,” Jeon said. “It takes about two weeks for the shot to become effective, so it’s always best to get vaccinated early so the body can build up immunity before the flu season ramps up.”

Barnes-Jewish Hospital will provide free seasonal flu shots at these locations:

City of St. Louis

When: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7 – Wednesday, Oct. 9

Who: Adult vaccinations only (18 years old and older)

Where: Barnes-Jewish Plaza Tower, main-floor lobby

1 Barnes Jewish Plaza

Parking is available in the Plaza Garage for $2 per hour

When: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 – Wednesday, Oct. 9

Where: Center for Advanced Medicine, third-floor lobby

4921 Parkview Place

Parking is available in the Euclid Garage for $2 per hour

West St. Louis County

When: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12

Where: Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital

Medical Office Building 2

10 Barnes West Drive

North St. Louis County

When: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13

Where: Siteman Cancer Center at Christian Hospital

Christian Hospital Atrium, Detrick Building

11133 Dunn Road

South St. Louis County

When: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19

Where: Siteman Cancer Center, South County

5225 Midamerica Plaza

SSM Health is offering free flu vaccinations Saturday, Oct. 12, from 8 a.m. to Noon at these locations for ages 9 and up (except at Cardinal Glennon, where ages 6 months and up are accepted):

Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

Drive-through parking lot next to Ronald McDonald House

3450 Park Avenue, St. Louis

St. Mary’s Hospital

Drive-through Bellevue Avenue (one block south of Clayton Road), Richmond Heights

St. Clare Hospital, Conference Center

1015 Bowles Avenue, Fenton

St. Joseph Hospital, Education Center, Koenig Building

400 Medical Plaza, Lake Saint Louis

DePaul Hospital, May Center

12303 DePaul Drive, north St. Louis County

SSM Health Outpatient Center, Lewis and Clark Conference Room

711 Veterans Memorial Parkway, St. Charles

For more information, visit barnesjewish.org/flushots or call 314-867-3627.

You can also visit ssmhealth.com/access/now/ to schedule an appointment with a physician’s office, urgent care or SSM Health Express Clinic at Walgreens.