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Veterans can get free flu shots this fall

(Metro Creative photo)

Veterans have the opportunity to receive a free flu shot this fall under a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program, and local officials are seeking to spread the word.

Davison County Veterans Service Officer Craig Bennett said local veterans can get their flu shot at no cost at an in-network pharmacy, provided they are enrolled in the VA’s health care system. No appointment or VA referral is required, Bennett said.

“I want veterans in the area to know that this is a free option for them,” Bennett said.

The importance of flu shots is expected to increase this fall and winter, considering the impact of COVID-19. Having a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, will help reduce the burden of health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources.

The month of October is considered a good time to get a flu shot, according to the CDC. It is recommended for every individual ages 6 months and older. A listing of community pharmacies in the VA’s network is available at va.gov/find-locations, with locations in many Mitchell area communities.


“I know the VA is sending out mailers to individuals to let them know that they are having drive-up flu shot clinics in Sioux Falls,” Bennett said. “But this is something that veterans can take advantage of locally at no cost and you don’t have to drive an hour. It’s not going to cure what’s going on right now with COVID, but it’s going to help the rest of ailments away and then as they figure out more on this pandemic, we’ll figure out the next step in the process.”

Bennett said the only restriction he has learned of with the program is that Walgreens does not offer the high-dose flu vaccine for free as part of the VA program.

“Other than that, go into the pharmacy, show them the veterans card, get the flu shot and away you go,” he said.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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