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When can you expect to get the flu, COVID, RSV vaccines in St. Louis County?

County health officials said they aren't sure yet when the updated COVID-19 boosters will arrive.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Monday morning, St. Louis County Health Department clinics began administering the latest flu shots to "empaneled patients" only, meaning patients who have primary care physicians within the county health department. 

The health department told 5 on Your Side that the county only received a small initial shipment of the 2023 flu vaccine from the manufacturer. The department said it is anticipating a larger shipment.

Once that happens, a county health official said the department will "then offer flu vaccine via walk-in vaccine clinic as (it typically does)."  

Our 5 on Your Side team has been following the vaccine rollout in St. Louis County since last week. We spoke with county health officials to get an update. As of Monday morning, health officials say they're not certain when the department will have the newly approved Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots available for administration to the public. But, health officials said they expect to know more this week.

When our newsroom asked whether the department is currently administrating the RSV vaccine, St. Louis County Health Officials told our reporter, "We do not have RSV vaccines."

Here's what you need to know about the 2023 flu shot:

There were slight updates to the vaccine's formula, like usual, to fight against the most recent strain of the virus. The CDC recommends getting the shot now, as September and October are the best times for most people to get vaccinated.

The agency also reports that people who were vaccinated against flu were about 40% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized because of flu illness or related complications in 2022.

St. Louis County health officials also say it's important for residents to get the latest protection so the entire community can avoid the "tripledemic" spike in COVID, RSV and flu cases that we saw last year.

We spoke with Dr. Kanika Cunningham, Public Health Director, St. Louis County Department of Public Health. She says, "We still see rising cases in October-- well throughout the entire flu season. So I know in the past, COVID-19 has kind of taken priority. But we're still seeing a significant amount of influenza cases, hospitalizations and things like that. So, during this season, what we are definitely encouraging and recommending is for everyone to be mindful about COVID-19, influenza and RSV."

Dr. Cunningham adds, “I always encourage people to get (their) flu shot every single season, because it's going to be a different strain. It's going to circulate. I do encourage people to talk to the primary care providers. I know a big thing is, 'I have an egg allergy'. You can actually still get the influenza vaccination, even if you do have that egg allergy. But, definitely talk to your primary care physician who can, you know, go through your medical problems, your concerns, and answer in a little bit more detail for you … also feel comfortable asking all of your questions about the flu shot."

Right now, COVID, RSV and flu tests are available at the John C. Murphy Health Center parking lot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

As far as getting the flu vaccine, BJC Healthcare will be hosting a flu shot clinic on Sept. 30. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two locations. You can receive the vaccines at Siteman Cancer Center – South County and BJC at the Commons during this time. Participants need to register in advance.

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