The medical rite of autumn has spread to more retail outlets.
Chances are, you won't have trouble finding a flu shot this year.
With flu season approaching, so many drugstores and groceries are rolling out their own flu-shot clinics that state officials say they can't keep up with them. This year, retailers such as Target, CVS and Cub have taken on a bigger role in the flu-shot business, with aggressive campaigns to lure shoppers to roll up their sleeves.
And that's good news to Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health. "There's more and more opportunity for people to get vaccinated and, I think, fewer and fewer excuses why they would not," she said.
For years, the Department of Health has kept a website to help people search for flu-shot clinics by ZIP code (mdhflu.com). But this year, Ehresmann said, many retail clinics are simply advertising directly to consumers, and the state website hasn't kept up.
The vaccine supply is plentiful this fall, she said, with an estimated 1.7 million doses already shipped to Minnesota.
The vaccines can range in cost from $25 to $45 and are typically covered by insurance, Ehresmann said. There is also a federally funded program, Minnesota Vaccines for Children, that covers flu shots for children with no insurance. For more information, go to www.startribune.com/a1753.