Flu season begins next month and places across North Texas have already ramped up to give out flu vaccines.
Health officials in Texas are urging people to get flu shots this year so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with two epidemics at once.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the state is working with medical experts, state legislators and heads of state agencies to develop proactive strategies that will reduce the spread of the flu in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is vital that every Texan continues to wear a mask, practices social distancing, avoids group gatherings, and frequently sanitizes their hands," Abbott said. "These best practices will aid in our efforts to reduce the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu."
Influenza and COVID-19 have a number of shared symptoms: body aches, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches.
One difference is that people with the flu typically feel sickest during the first week of illness. With COVID-19, people may feel the worst during the second or third week and may be sicker for a longer period. A person with COVID-19 may also lose their sense of taste or smell.
If you believe you may either have the flu or COVID-19, speak with your doctor first to see which test you should undergo.
The Center for Disease Control recommends people get their flu shot before Oct. 31. The flu vaccine keeps a person immune for about nine to 10 months, said Dr. David Winter with Baylor Scott & White.
Texas Health and Human Services shared a flu vaccine finder on their website. Go here to search.
Here's where flu shots are available:
Kroger Health flu vaccine event in Fort Worth - Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10
Kroger Health, Tarrant County Health and the city of Fort Worth announced a partnership to help the community get vaccinated before flu season starts next month.
The drive-thru flu vaccinations will be from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 in the Chevrolet parking lot at the Dickies Arena, 3463 Trail Drive, Fort Worth.
Kroger Health will have 1,200 total vaccinations for both events. People must make an appointment in advance at krogerhealth.com/flu. People can also call 817-248-6299.
Vaccines will be provided to insured and uninsured patients 6 months and older. Bring your identification and insurance card.
Flu shots will be available at no out-of-pocket costs to those with Medicare B and are also fully covered by many insurance plans, Kroger Health says. Bring your ID and an insurance card.
"In particular, we wanted to provide an efficient way for our seniors to receive the recommended high-dose formulation of the flu shot while minimizing the risk of potential exposure in the general public," said Jeff Loesch, Dallas division health and wellness director for Kroger Health.
Dallas County offers flu shots at clinics
Dallas County Health and Human Services offers the flu vaccine at many clinic locations. Call ahead of time at 214-819-2000 to schedule an appointment. Go here for locations and hours.
The vaccine ranges from $30 for the regular flu shot to $65 for the high dose.
Children can get the vaccine at all clinics. The vaccine for adults is available at the main clinic at 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, 75207.
Tarrant County Public Health offers flu shots for $25
Residents in Tarrant County can get the flu vaccine at multiple locations in the county.
Shots are $25 per person. Medicaid and Medicare Part B will be accepted.
Call 817-248-6066 to make an appointment. Go here for locations.
Denton County Public Health offering flu vaccines
Denton County Public Health is offering flu vaccines by appointment only. Call 940-349-2900 for Denton and 972-434-4700 for Lewisville.
The department increased its flu vaccine order by 40% compared to last year, spokesperson Jennifer Rainey said.
Many of the vaccines that were ordered are designated for specific high-risk groups and the uninsured community members, which are the department's primary focus.
Flu shots are typically free for those with private insurance and the department encourages community members with insurance to call their primary care providers, pharmacies, and urgent care clinics to get their flu vaccine scheduled.
Low-cost flu vaccines at Garland Public Health
Flu shots are available at Garland Public Health, 206 Carver St. from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for adults, children and seniors who are insured.
Call 972-205-3370 for pricing and to learn what insurance plans are accepted.
Other locations to get a flu shot
CareNow Urgent Care offers $20 flu shots for people of all ages. Go here for more information.