‘Boo to the flu’: No-cost flu shots available in Pinellas County

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Are you prepared for flu season? You can say “Boo to the Flu” with a vaccine that’s free to you.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is opening a number of free flu shot clinics for residents ahead of Halloween as part of its “Boo to the Flu” initiative.

“It’s really important because the flu can affect everyone, it’s a highly transmissible disease” said health department spokesman Tom Iovino. “Because there was such a light flu season last year there is a danger that this year we could see a more severe flu season so getting that shot in advance is critical,” Iovino said.

Iovino told 8 On Your Side that with the global pandemic last year a lot of people stayed home, masked up, and washed their hands often. He said fewer people were exposed to the flu, which means this year more people are without immunity. He said less immunity makes for a more dangerous flu season.

Iovino said the flu vaccine takes two to three weeks to take effect which is why they want everyone to get the shot now.

“With the holidays coming up it’s important to get the shots now so they will have their full immunity by the time their travel comes along,” Iovino said.

Right now the coronavirus positivity rate in Pinellas County is a little below 4% which Iovino said is really good, however, he’s worried the holidays could set us back.

This week, Monday through Friday, you can make an appointment or be a walk-in at any of the following five health department locations in St. Pete, Largo, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, and Tarpon Springs.

  • St. Petersburg, 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N.
  • Largo, 8751 Ulmerton Road
  • Clearwater, 310 N. Myrtle Avenue
  • Pinellas Park, 6350 76th Avenue
  • Tarpon Springs, 301 S. Disston Avenue

Flu shots will be available at those locations to anyone 3 years old or older from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

The CDC says getting the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time is safe.

“With COVID still in circulation, the flu shot can help prevent the flu or also prevent it from becoming more severe where you may need to go to a hospital to get treated so getting the flu shot now is important,” Iovino said.

The “Boo to the Flu” initiative kicks off at 8 a.m. Monday morning. If you can’t make it, visit your local neighborhood pharmacy or doctor to get the shot.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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