Breaking News
More () »

St. Louis Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | KSDK.com

How your flu shot helps St. Louis area hospitals

Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis says flu vaccines not only protect individual patients but keep valuable resources open as coronavirus hospitalizations rise.

ST. LOUIS — Thursday afternoon, a crew put the finishing touches on the sign at the Urban League's empowerment center off North Kingshighway. 

This weekend, they expect hundreds of people for a flu shot clinic -- with staff from Barnes Jewish Hospital -- an event made even more important this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"It's definitely top of mind," Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis CEO Michael McMillan said. "I think when you look at health overall, that is something that everybody sees as even more important than it was pre-COVID."

The clinics will not be the first time the Urban League's partnered with BJC for flu clinics, but it is the largest operation yet with 5,000 vaccines available. 

And the clinics come the same week as the pandemic task force head Dr. Alex Garza issued a stark warning about hospitalization rates, saying "we have erased every bit of progress we've made this summer and fall."

"We cannot afford to have our hospitals overwhelmed by both flu illnesses and coronavirus," BJC's Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis said. 

Hlatshwayo Davis says the flu vaccines not only protect individual patients, but -- as coronavirus cases rise -- the inoculations keep valuable resources open.

"What will happen potentially if we don't get ahead of this is that there won't be available beds for people who need them and resources for people that need them, such as the ventilators. That's really the concern here," Hlatshwayo Davis said.

Because these partners have never organized clinics of this size and scale, they're not sure how many people to expect. But they're ready for thousands.

Free flu shots for the community are available at the following locations, while supplies last.

Saturday, Oct. 24
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Jamestown Mall Parking Lot
175 Jamestown Mall
Florissant, MO 63034
Format: Drive-thru; first come, first served

Sunday, Oct. 25
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Urban League Northside Community Empowerment Center
1330 Aubert Ave
St. Louis, MO 63113
Format: Drive-thru; first come, first served

All vaccines are free of latex and preservatives. Those 65-years and older are eligible to receive a high dose (HD) vaccine while supplies last. If the HD vaccine is not available, the standard dose can be given.

Additional information about flu vaccinations and resources in the St. Louis region also can be found at vaccinateSTL.org.


RELATED: Why should you get a flu shot? Local doctor gives 7 reasons

RELATED: Hospitalizations still rising in Missouri, prompting worries