GARFIELD PARK — Flu season is here and the city’s Department of Public Health is recommending all residents over the age of 6 months get vaccinated.
The city wants to encourage people to get their flu shots as early as possible before the disease starts spreading as the winter chills set in. The city’s weekly flu updates indicate that the risk of infection is low, and only three flu-related hospitalizations were reported across October.
To help residents access the vaccines, flu shots are being offered for free at dozens of community events across the city. There are also five free vaccination clinics that take walk-ins.
However, none of those clinics are located on the West Side of Chicago.
The nearest of the city’s free walk-in immunization clinics is the Mercy Lower West Health Center at 1713 S. Ashland Ave. in Pilsen, open 8 a.m.– 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
The health department cautions that while no appointment is necessary, vaccines are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the high volume of people seeking flu shots, wait times can get lengthy.
ACCESS Community Health Network is offering 2,000 vouchers for uninsured residents to get free flu shots at Walgreens. Vouchers can be picked up at any ACCESS location in the city including their west side clinic at 3752 W. 16th St.
In North Lawndale, residents can get their flu shots at the Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave. Flu shots are free for patients at Lawndale Christian, and for uninsured walk-ins who are not patients the price is $20.
Residents can also get their vaccines at CVS and Walgreens for free with most insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid. The price of a vaccine for uninsured patients at both pharmacies is $41.
Community immunization events are taking place across the West Side at the following locations:
27th Ward Office
Where: 4 N. Western Ave., Unit 1C
When: 11 a.m. –3 p.m. Oct. 24
Above and Beyond Family Center
Where: 2942 W. Lake St.
When: 12 p.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 29
37th Ward Office
Where: 4922 W. Chicago Ave.
When: 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Nov. 2
William P. Nixon School
Where: 2121 N. Keeler Ave.
When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Oct. 26
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.