IMH file photo

Ivinson Memorial Hospital

LARAMIE - With flu season creeping in, Ivinson Memorial Hospital is hosting a clinic for walk-in flu shots from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.

The hospital will also host a mobile clinic at War Memorial Stadium’s indoor-practice facility’s tailgate zone during the University of Wyoming’s football game against Colorado State in Laramie on Nov. 22.

Compared to a cold, influenza itself may include additional symptoms, including a high fever, extreme fatigue and full-body aches. So far this year, the hospital has logged one lab-confirmed case of the flu.

Lisa Rambo, a infection preventionist at Ivinson, said influenza is still a dangerous threat to individuals and communities that should be taken seriously, even by individuals who may not be concerned about it themselves.

“If I were exposed, I may not get sick, but I certainly could carry it,” Rambo said. “A simple sneeze, cough, I could then maybe expose a child or someone that can’t get vaccinated.”

Children younger than six months cannot receive flu shots and are especially vulnerable due to their still-developing immune systems. Other individuals who cannot receive shots include those who are allergic to the vaccine and those with the rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Rambo said patients should be aware the shot will take about two weeks to be effective.

Those who don’t make it to the walk-in clinic can still get the same shots at the same rates by appointment. Insurance companies can be billed for the flu shots; out-of-pocket costs will range from $25-$65, depending on the strength and type of the desired shot.

Families and individuals with a patient history at Ivinson can expect to walk in, get a shot and walk out. Colleen Lang, practice administrator and registered nurse, said last year’s flu shot clinics drew about 250 patients.

“Last year, the Albany County immunization rate was 36 percent, which seems low but it’s actually higher than the national average,” Lang said.

New patients will need to take a few minutes to fill out initial paperwork.

While some vaccines use inoculation, which is the strategy of exposing a person to a weakened form of the virus to train their immune system to fight it, Lang says no such risk will be posed by the shots available at the clinic.

“None of these flu shots that we offer on Saturday are a ‘live’ vaccine — you cannot get the flu from getting the flu shot,” Lang said.

The clinic will offer three varieties of flu shots:

n A “regular” shot (Fluzone) for any patient above six months of age

n A high-dose shot more effective for patients above sixty-five

n A shot that contains no egg allergens (Flublok), for patients age 18 and up but especially effective for the age 50-60 range

For students of the University of Wyoming, Student Health Services offers insurance-billable flu shots for $14.50, according to UW’s website. The service is available to all full-time students, as well as to part-time students who paid for the optional Student Health package.

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