Low-income families who can’t pay will have access to flu shot

Flu Epidemic

Low-income families who can’t pay will have access to flu shot

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YUMA, AZ - We live in a community with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country where not everyone has health care.

We wanted to know with this year's flu season being one of the worst in over a decade, what are local health officials doing for those who can't' afford to pay for a flu shot.

We spoke to Leighann Howell, Supervising Nurse at the Yuma County Health Department.

She tells KSWT News 13 because of this year's dangerous and deadly flu bug, no one, including those who can't afford it, will be turned away from getting a flu shot.

"I don't want her to get sick and end up in the hospital," said Esmeralda Delgado, a mother of an
8-year old girl. Delgado is not taking any chances. Monday she took her daughter to the Yuma Health Clinic so the two of them could get their flu vaccination.

This year's flu virus has already claimed the lives of 20 children across the nation. 

"We had been sick and they told us not to get it while you're sick if you have a fever or cold symptoms," said Delgado.

But now with the flu bug being so widespread, Howell says everyone who is starting to suffer even mild flu-like symptoms should still get the flu shot. These symptoms include a slight fever, coughing, and achy bones.

"The flu vaccine has three different strains in it and unless you've actually tested positive with a positive test for influenza you may or may not actually have influenza," said Howell.

Right now, the Yuma County Health Department charges $25 for adults 19 and older and $10 for people 18 and under.

KSWT News 13 asked Howell what happens to patients who can't afford to pay for the vaccine.

"The County Health Department does not refuse service for inability to pay," she said.

Again, Howell says if you can't afford to pay for your flu shot you will not be turned away.

But, Howell does say that if you're running a fever you should stay home for at least 24 hours so you won't spread the virus to others.

"The numbers are rising earlier than they have in a couple previous years before, but they're still within normal limits for our flu season," she said.

So far, 22 cases of the flu have been reported in Yuma County. Delgado does not want her and her daughter to add to this overall number. "They say you could still get sick but it's not going to be as strong as if you don't get the flu shot so it's safer to be safe than sorry."

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