Free flu shots available on the West Side

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Austin residents wanting to ward off the flu this winter can get free flu shots at several West Side locations in coming weeks.

Health experts hope residents of all ages will take advantage of the clinics, which are organized by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“Every person is susceptible to catching the flu, and those at greatest risk of developing significant illnesses behind getting the flu would be the very young and the very old,” said Dr. Karole Lakota, medical director of PCC Lake Street Family Health Center, 5425 W. Lake St.

It’s important to get the flu shot even if you’re not in the high-risk group to help the prevention of those at higher risk you come in contact with, Lakota said.

“It’s a serious disease. Every year it causes thousands people to get sick. A serious disease that needs to be prevented,” said Dr. Julie Morita, Chicago Department of Public Health’s medical director. “We recommend anyone 6 months or older to get vaccinated to protect little babies and seniors.”

The next flu shot event for Austin will be held Nov. 1 at the 29th Ward office of Ald. Deborah Graham, 5755 W. Division St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other locations include:

  • Nov. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at  Greater Galilee Church, 1308 S. Independence Blvd.
  • Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chicago Police Department-Area 4, 3151 W. Harrison St.
  • Nov. 19 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave.

Lakota urges Austin residents to get the shot after last year’s bad flu season.

“Last year in Austin, we noticed there was a huge spike in flu illnesses in March and April. It was longer flu season last year,” said Lakota.

Although flu season usually doesn’t start until late winter – December through March – it takes couple of weeks for the vaccine to gain immunity so that’s why Lakota advises getting the vaccination now.

“The earlier you get vaccinated, the better you’ll be protected,” she said.

The Chicago Department of Public Health’s free flu shot clinics were created for residents who don’t have health insurance, but all are welcome to visit these locations.

“We want to make it accessible to everyone,” said Morita.

You can check all the dates and times for the events being held now through December.

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