According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, heightened influenza activity typically occurs from October to May.
The 2019-20 flu season was a particularly active one for the state of Texas. DSHS data shows the state reported 53,278 total confirmed cases of influenza, an increase of more than 20,000 cases from the year prior.
Austin health care officials are now asking local residents to get flu shots early so health care systems do not get overloaded with cases of influenza in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes this year in regards to the flu,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, in a Sept. 26 new release. “We have the real threat of a 'twindemic,' or an epidemic of flu and COVID-19, and our health care system simply can’t handle two at the same time, so we need everyone to do their part.”
Listed below are locations where Travis and Williamson county residents can receive flu shots for free or at a discounted rate. This list is not comprehensive.
SHOTS FOR TOTS/BIG SHOTS
Austin Public Health offers immunization services for adults and children who are not enrolled in health insurance plans through its Shots for Tots and Big Shots programs. The shots are available through appointment only at clinics in North Austin and South Austin. Patients are instructed to call 512-972-5520 from Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Far South Austin: 405 W. Stassney Lane, Austin
North Austin St. John: 7500 Blessing Ave., Austin
Fees: $10 per dose of vaccine for children. Free for children with Medicaid. $25 per dose of vaccine for adults. APH notes no one is refused services if they are unable to pay.
Contact: 512-972-5520. www.austintexas.gov/department/immunizations
AUSTIN REGIONAL CLINIC
Local health care group Austin Regional Clinic is providing curbside flu shots at seven clinic locations. Those locations are ARC NOW Clinic in Cedar Park; ARC Far West; ARC South First; ARC Southwest; ARC Round Rock; ARC Kyle Plum Creek; and ARC Center Street. Every location is now available for curbside shots except for ARC Kyle Plum Creek, which will offer the service beginning Oct. 7. Other clinic locations are offering in-clinic vaccinations. Appointments are required for all shots and can be made at www.arcflushot.com.
Austin Regional Clinic: multiple locations
Fees: Most insurances, including Medicare, cover the cost of flu vaccinations. Costs for self-pay and uninsured range from $72-$123 depending on what type of vaccine is given, according to ARC. A 25% discount for payment at time of service is given.
Contact: 512-272-4636. www.arcflushot.com
FASTMED URGENT CARE
FastMed Urgent Care is providing flu vaccinations at its three Austin locations as well as its clinics in Georgetown, Lakeway and Kyle. Vaccinations are offered seven days a week.
FastMed Urgent Care: multiple locations
Fees: Most insurances cover the cost of flu vaccinations. Self-pay for $35. Flu shots available at FastMed clinics are not covered under Medicaid.
PEOPLE’S COMMUNITY CLINIC
Nonprofit health care center People’s Community Clinic launched drive-thru appointments for flu shots in September. Families and individuals interested in scheduling an appointment for drive-thru and in-clinic shots are asked to call 512-478-4939.
People’s Community Clinic: 1101 Camino La Costa, Austin
Fees: Many low-income patients will qualify for a free vaccine, according to People's Community Clinic. Flu shot prices also vary on a sliding scale.
Contact: 512-478-4939. www.austinpcc.org
ST. DAVID’S CARENOW
St. David’s CareNow is now offering low-cost flu shots at its 14 Austin-area locations. The primary care clinic chain offers virtual check-in services for patients wanting to get immunized against the flu.
St. David's CareNow: multiple locations
Fees: $20 flu shots
If your organization would like to be included in this article, please contact Northwest Austin Senior Reporter Iain Oldman by emailing [email protected] with locations and vaccination pricing information.