Free flu shots available at Juneau public health clinic on Saturday

Elaine Hickey, a public health nurse, asks a man screening questions during Juneau’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Centennial Hall on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Juneau residents can get free flu shots at a clinic on Saturday.

The clinic will be held at the Juneau Public Health Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone aged 9 and older can get the flu vaccine at the clinic. Juneau residents can make appointments online. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

Doctors recommend getting the flu shot by the end of October. Last year’s flu season started earlier than usual, and rates were especially high in Southeast Alaska.

Flu shots are recommended for anyone 6 months and older, but health officials say they’re especially important for older adults, young children and people with chronic health conditions. 

It’s safe – and recommended – to get a flu shot during pregnancy.

The latest COVID-19 vaccine is also available at pharmacies and other healthcare providers. Like the flu shot, the COVID vaccine gets updated as the virus changes over time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the newest vaccine for anyone who hasn’t gotten a COVID shot in the past two months.

The City and Borough of Juneau tracks how much of the virus is in the wastewater. Data from both the Juneau-Douglas treatment plant and the Mendenhall Valley plant show that amount is relatively low right now. 

But Chad Gubala, the city’s utilities production and treatment manager, said that could change in the winter months.

“The numbers for both Mendenhall and JD right now are pretty similar to what they were this time last year in October, and then as we got into the holiday season and colder weather, the incidence of COVID increased quite a bit,” he said.

RSV vaccines are also available. This is the first year infants can get the RSV vaccine, which greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization. There’s also an RSV vaccine now recommended during pregnancy. Last year, Bartlett Regional Hospital saw both children and adults hospitalized with RSV.

Public health officials originally announced the clinic would be at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School. Reservations that were made for the middle school will be honored at the new location.

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