By TINA HINZ
Patrons paid $20 for a shot at Screaming Eagle and The Wild Hare on Wednesday. But they got a free beer in return. Not a bad deal for an annual flu vaccination. Seventeen people took advantage of the after-work special, which also included a discounted meal. “The whole idea was to make it as convenient as possible,” said Wayne Lafrenz, marketing director for both establishments.
Recipients could pay cash or provide insurance information, and they were entered into the Immunization Registry Information System, a statewide database that helps doctors and parents to better track immunizations. This year’s vaccine includes two influenza A viruses and an influenza B.
Lauren Lamp, a nurse with the Family Health Center of Grundy Center, said flu season runs from now through February, and her community is starting to experience cases. The health center has not had a rush of people coming in solely for a flu shot, but doctors are catching patients during other appointments, she added.
“It’s a very good time to get a shot,” said Lamp, who administered shots from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Screaming Eagle.
The sooner the better, according to Jon McNamee, manager of the Black Hawk County Health Department’s enforcement, surveillance and preparedness division. The virus began circulating earlier than normal. However, officials haven’t heard of higher-than-normal flu activity, even from school nurses, he said.