ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic is kicking off its flu vaccine clinic and if you're planning on getting a shot, remember, you have to make an appointment first.
You can schedule an appointment with one of several different Mayo Clinic locations, enter through a completely separate area from the rest of the clinic, get your shot and go on your way. They created safe, central locations across the region for patients to get a flu shot. The idea behind it was to help you feel comfortable and reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. Dr. Robert Jacobson said this is the first time Mayo Clinic is asking patients to make an appointment. He explained that's because they don't want anyone showing up who hasn't been screened for COVID-19 or just in case you're not aware of the guidelines that are in place at the clinic.
Health officials are anticipating more people will get their flu vaccine this year since the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are so similar. "Yet, COVID-19 is much more serious in terms of the fatality rate and the hospitalization rate and how fast it spreads," said Dr. Jacobson. "So we need to prevent every case of flu this year so we don't confuse and overwhelm the system." He explained conducting the flu clinic this way actually helps them prepare for the future. "All of us - our patients, our staff are actually practicing for when we get to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines. This will be exactly how we need to get our entire community vaccinated against COVID-19," said Dr. Jacobson. "So the effort of what we're going through now with flu vaccine will help a great deal as we move forward with a COVID-19 vaccine."
There are many different locations were the flu clinic will be offered, such as in Rochester, Kasson, Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna. All you need to do is call your primary doctor to make an appointment and you do not already have to be a patient at Mayo Clinic to get a flu shot there, but you will be asked to register as one when you make an appointment. Right now, they plan on having this available for the next six weeks.