Mayo starts vaccines for seasonal influenza throughout Coulee Region
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Mayo Clinic Health System is offering flu vaccine at sites throughout southwest Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, according to a news release from Mayo.
Health officials at Mayo and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contend it is more important than ever for people 6 months and older get flu vaccinations to protect themselves and others from getting the flu in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If people have fever and respiratory symptoms in the fall, the first concern is going to be COVID-19,” said Dr. Priya Sampathkumar, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo.
“The symptoms of the two diseases are hard to tell apart,” Sampathkumar said. “If you get the flu vaccine, you are less likely to get the flu and less likely to be thought of as a possible COVID-19 case.”
Mayo recommends self-scheduling flu vaccine appointments online through Patient Online Services or the Mayo Clinic App. These self-service options also prevent wait times on the phone and preserve resources for COVID-19, according to a Mayo news release.
Patients also can ask for a flu vaccination during an existing appointment at any of the southwest Wisconsin clinic locations, including La Crosse, Onalaska, Arcadia, Caledonia, Holmen, Prairie du Chien, Sparta and Tomah.
In La Crosse, walk-in vaccine clinics will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Oct. 7-30 in the fitness center of the Professional Arts Building at 615 10th St. S. Use the north entrance on Ferry Street. FluMist is not available at this location.
Patients also may call to schedule an influenza-only vaccine appointment at these locations:
• Arcadia: 895 S. Dettloff Drive, 608-323-3373
• Caledonia: 701 N. Sprague St., 507-724-3353
• Holmen: 1303 Main St. S., 608-526-3351
• La Crosse: 800 West Ave. S., 608-392-9633
• Onalaska: 191 Theater Road, 608-392-5001
• Prairie du Chien: 800 E. Blackhawk Ave., 608-326-0808
• Sparta: 310 W. Main St., 608-269-1770
• Tomah: 325 Butts Ave., 608-372-5951
Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, have respiratory symptoms or are under quarantine should delay flu vaccinations until they no longer are ill or their quarantine is over.
For patients between 6 months and 12 years of age, a parent or guardian will need to schedule an appointment using caregiver access to the child’s Patient Online Services account.
Patients ages 13–17 will need to have their own Patient Online Services accounts to schedule vaccination appointments.
When making an appointment, note that children 6 months through age 8 need two flu vaccines if it is the child’s first seasonal flu vaccination. The second vaccine is given at least four weeks from the date of the first.
Many insurance plans cover the cost of seasonal flu vaccines. Mayo Clinic Health System will bill insurance or accept payment.
Like COVID-19, influenza is a virus that causes respiratory illness, and symptoms can range from mild to severe or life-threatening in children and adults.
However, the two illnesses are not the same, and the CDC website outlines the differences.
After vaccination, it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies to protect against the flu, which is why early fall vaccination is recommended.
If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading illness to others.
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