Achoo! Airports offering flu shots

Flu shot no spitting

Thrilled, once again, to be doing a short (one-day this time) fill-in for Ben Mutzabaugh on the Today in the Sky blog at USA Today.

For the first entry of the day: my annual “where to get your flu shot at the airport” round-up.

Forget the headlines and the hysteria. As this chart explains, it’s far easier to catch the flu than Ebola when you’re out in public or on an airplane.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year more than 200,000 people end up hospitalized from seasonal-flu related complications. Some of them die.

So, doctors say, don’t take chances. And don’t say you’re too busy traveling to get vaccinated. While not as common as it was in the past, a handful of airports – including the ones listed below – offer flu shots on the fly for prices ranging from free (with proof of medical insurance card) to about $35.

It’s been a number of years since Cleveland Hopkins International Airport offered flu shots, but this year the airport is partnering with the local health department to host flu shot clinics November 11 and 18, from 8 a.m. to noon, on the secure side of the security checkpoint, at Gate C2.

“It’s truly a win-win situation. Business travelers clearly appreciate the convenience of getting the flu vaccine right here at CLE, and preventing the flu is our business,” said Toinette Parrilla, director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, in a statement.

At O’Hare International Airport, travelers can get a flu shot at the O’Hare Medical Clinic (773.894.5100), located in Terminal 2, or at one of the temporary kiosks in Terminals 1 and 3.

Flu shots are also available at the SFO Medical Clinic (650.821.5600) in the International Terminal Main Hall (on Boarding Area A side) at San Francisco International Airport, at the McCarran Medical Clinic and Pharmacy (702.261.6707) in Terminal 1 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, and at Nashville International Airport at the CareHere! Walk-in Clinic and Wellness Store (615.275.1820), post-security near the Concourse C exit.

Clinics nearby some major airports offer flu shots to travelers as well.
At Los Angeles International Airport, the 24-hour Reliant Immediate Care (310-215-6020) is on airport property and a short walk from the terminals. At both JFK International Airport and Newark Liberty International airports, branches of Airport Medical Offices are located on airport property and accessible via buses or shuttles. (JFK: 718-244-1644; Newark: 973-643-8383)

“Our customers are people who just don’t have time to go somewhere to get a flu shot,” said Kelly Butler, general manager of Nashville International Airport’s CareHere! clinic, “But everyone arrives early for their flight, so it’s a great opportunity to get it done.”

Ebola and airports

Ebola jPG

Lots in the news right now about Ebola and airports.

On Wednesday (October 8, 2014) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) announced new entry screening procedures for the five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

New York’s JFK International Airport will begin the new screening on Saturday. Enhanced entry screening at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta international airports will start next week.

The CDC issued this fact sheet detailing the screening procedures and the precautions that will be taken at the five U.S. airports and as well as the Ebola screening process underway for travelers leaving the affected countries.

Meanwhile, other airports around the country are issuing statements designed to reassure passengers that proper precautions are in place.

Orlando International Airport, for example, issued a statement telling travelers that “Airport Rescue Fire Fighters (ARFF) and emergency medical paramedics are on duty 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week and follow established procedures and protocols already in place if there is an indication of a passenger displaying symptoms and a travel history associated with the disease.”

The statement also noted that “Orlando International Airport has NO direct or non-stop service to the region of West Africa most identified with the Ebola outbreak.”