Fighting flu with free shots


Mallie Douglas has avoided the flu vaccine for years but on Saturday she took steps to change that.

"I haven't had it since I was really young," said Douglas.

With no health insurance, cost has been a factor. So when she heard about a free flu shot clinic at the HealthNet Southwest Health & Dental Center on West Morris Street, Douglas didn't hesitate.

"I've gotta stay well so I can take care of my son," she said.

A quick stick was all it took to offer protection from the roughest flu season in recent history.

"That didn't even hurt at all! I am super protected now," Douglas exclaimed.

Dr. Rick Reifenberg, associate health director for HealthNet says the all mighty dollar is a road block for many people like Douglas which is why it's important to offer the vaccine for free.

"For some people just the $20-25.00 to go to your doctor and get that flu shot is enough of a hindrance to prevent that from happening," said Dr. Reifenberg.

Cost was also an issue for John Robertson even though he can't afford to be sick

"It would ruin everything I've got going," said Robertson who has been avoiding people who are sick for weeks.

Robertson says for him, the shot delivers a healthy dose of peace of mind.

"Hopefully I don't get sick this year cause like I said I can't afford it," he said.

Doctors say even after you get the shot it's still important to wash your hands and take additional preventative measures to make sure you avoid the other bugs that are still out there.

"There are certainly other illnesses out there that you can get so our message out there today is one of prevention," said Dr. Reifenberg.

Ten year old Brendan Clark wasn't happy about being at the free flu shot clinic, but his mother Jennie gave him no choice in the matter

"Kids aren't good at hand washing at school so it's better to be safe than sorry," she said.

With 40 deaths in Indiana this season, Clark just wasn't willing to take any chances.

While the vaccine is not foolproof, it certainly gives people a better shot at staying well.

The Marion County Public Health Department provides reduced cost flu shots at its district health offices.

Shots for adults are $15.00, kids 2-18 are $10.00 and infants under two are free.