It’s time to get your flu shot. The first inoculations of the season are now complete, and on Monday, health officials gave the go-ahead for doctors and others to start vaccinating anyone who comes to ask for a shot. Hy-Vee spokeswoman Ruth Comer says the Iowa-based chain of grocery and drugstores will offer the shots for a small fee. There are 200 in all, some in the chain’s grocery stores, some freestanding Hy-Vee Pharmacy stores that changed their signs this year from the old DrugTown name, and even a few “clinic pharmacies” that operate in conjunction with doctors’ offices. Most have at least one pharmacist who’s certified to give the shots. That’s right — it doesn’t have to be a nurse or doctor who wields the needle. A lot of people still don’t know that pharmacists can now give shots. They operate under the supervision of a physician, but right there at the pharmacy they can give a shot so you can go in, roll up your sleeve and be on your way. Medicare, the government healthcare coverage program for the elderly, covers the cost of the shot. So if you’re an older Iowan, Medicare will pay for your flu shot, and also many health-insurance plans cover the cost which is 25-dollars this year. Comer says that’s an increase, “but flu-shot vaccines have really increased in price this year.” There’s also a special deal for Members of the Iowa Farm Bureau. There are more than 150-thousand members of the Iowa Farm Bureau, and they can get a discount on the shot and receive a Hy-Vee gift card while they’re getting it — and if you’re covered by Farm Bureau’s health-insurance plan, the shot is free. The high-risk patients like babies and the elderly got the first shots but now it’s open to anyone and public-health officials say there’s plenty of vaccine this year to go around.
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