Flu Vaccine in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The 2015 flu vaccine is now available in Columbia.

Andrea Waner, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services public information officer, said the department started offering walk-in visits to receive the shot Monday.

Waner said she is optimistic this year's vaccine will better fight off the flu than last year's. She said the formula is updated to help fight the strains that were missed in last year's vaccine.

She said, even though she is optimistic, every year is really just a guess.

She said it's "not a perfect tool but the best one we have."

Dr. Jason Zerrer said Providence Urgent Care received its large shipment of the vaccine Tuesday.

He, too, said he believes the vaccine will be more productive than last year but that every year is just as much of a guess as to what strains will arise.

"Every year it's an educational guess and some years are better than others," Zerrer said.

Waner said she hasn't seen many people come in for the vaccine yet but expects the numbers to pick up around November. She said there is no way to guarantee protection from the flu, but she recommends everyone get the shot early and practice good hygiene to keep themselves healthy.

She said the brunt of the flu outbreak will peak around January and February. She said it usually takes a couple of weeks to start working.