In October, Prisma Health will launch its annual Midlands community free flu vaccination campaign as part of its system-wide effort to offer protection from the highly contagious virus.

Protect your family with free flu shots available at sites in Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties. The flu shot is available for anyone six months and older. Flu immunizations will be offered at multiple drive-thru sites to maximize community access. The sites will offer only flu shots.

• Flu shots will be administered by drive-through, with the exception of the 9 Medical Park lobby location.
• For drive-through locations, there will be limited capacity to provide vaccines outside of the vehicle for children, if needed.
• Flu shots at 9 Medical Park will be administered in the first-floor lobby area every Wednesday and Thursday in October from 3–6 pm
• High-dosage flu vaccines for individuals age 65 and over will be offered at all locations except Dent Middle School.
• Wear a short-sleeve shirt or loose-fitting clothing that can easily roll up to assist with vaccines.
• Face masks or shields will be required, along with temperature checks. Anyone with a fever will not be allowed a flu shot vaccine.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in this latest surge, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccination,” said Vince Ford, senior vice president of community health services. “I know we are asking a lot by encouraging everyone eligible to be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, but these vaccines are life-saving and at the very least can reduce the severity of illness.”

Midlands free flu shot schedule and sites
October 6 – 28, 3–6 pm
(Every Wednesday and Thursday)
• Prisma Health Richland Hospital Campus, 9 Medical Park building
9 Richland Medical Park Drive, Columbia

October 2, 9 am–1 pm
• Lower Richland High School
2615 Lower Richland Boulevard, Hopkins
• Columbia International University
7435 Monticello Road, Columbia

October 9, 9 am–1 pm
• Dent Middle School
2721 Decker Boulevard, Columbia

October 16, 9 am–1 pm
• Dreher High School
3319 Millwood Avenue, Columbia
• Crossroads Intermediate School
6949 St. Andrews Road, Columbia

October 23, 9 am–1 pm
• St. Andrews Middle School
1231 Bluefield Drive, Columbia
• Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2I2) 765 Fashion Drive, Columbia

October 30, 9 am–1 pm
• W.A. Perry Middle School (Challenger Parking Lot) 2600 Barhamville Road, Columbia
• Webber Elementary School
140 Webber School Road, Eastover
• Soda City Market
1300-1600 Main Street, Columbia

Consent forms are required and available at each site. Children under the age of 16 require a parent/guardian signature. Flu shots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because flu symptoms closely mirror COVID-19 symptoms, it can be virtually impossible to differentiate between flu and COVID-19 without testing. That means a case of the flu, even if it turns out to be mild, can cause substantial disruption to school and work for patients forced to isolate.

While flu is highly contagious, flu immunizations can significantly diminish its spread. Even if someone immunized against the flu still gets the flu, their illness is typically less severe and shorter in duration. Virtually everyone, including pregnant women and children six months or older, should be vaccinated against the flu.

Vaccination is particularly important for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart and lung diseases.

Flu vaccines cannot be given to those who have COVID-19 or think they have COVID-19.

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