Flu Shots Could Reduce Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes

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COLUMBIA - A new study released Friday by the Candian Cardiovascular Congress, found flu shots could help lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In the study 1,500 participants were given a flu shot, and 1,500 got a placebo. After one year the vaccinated group had a 50 percent reduced risk for both heart attacks and strokes. Forty percent showed a reduced risk for any heart related death.

The Columbia/Boone County Public Health Department is giving free flu shots to anyone under the age of 18. Nursing Specialist Trina Teacutter said there's an increase in patients looking to get the shot, compared to last year. The Department has given more than 10,000 influenza shots this flu season. 6,400 of those shots happened in public schools.  This year, the health department opened their services to middle schools, which added about 1,600 students.

Flu shots are available at the health department from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday through Friday. The cost is $25 for the injectable vaccine, and $30 for anybody over 65 who need a high-dose vaccine. Many insurance companies will cover that cost.

Many local pharmacies are giving out flu shots. Flow's HealthMart Pharmacy manager Randy Flow said the shot takes no more than 15 minutes and walk-ins are welcome. Kilgore 's Pharmacy only takes patients with a doctor's prescription.