Need a flu shot? Franciscan Health is here to help

RN Marnita Mills (r) and colleagues from Franciscan Health throughout the Healthcare system have organized numerous drive-through flu shot clinics in central Indiana and throughout the state this fall (Photo Courtesy of Franciscan Health)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Attention Hoosiers: If there is any time to get a flu shot, that time is now. That’s why Franciscan Health is expanding it’s mobile flu clinics across central Indiana.

News 8 spoke with Marnita Mills, nurse manager of the immunization department for Franciscan Alliance. Mills discussed the importance of flu shots, the extra protection it will provide this year as well as how the initiative will help those in rural communities get access to health care.

Q. Tell us about the importance of the flu vaccine given this double threat we have in terms of COVID-19. 

Mills. It’s been highly recommended that everyone receive their flu shot this year even if it’s their first year, especially with COVID-19 going on because the signs and symptoms of the flu and the coronavirus are so similar. And one thing your doctor will ask you is if you’ve had your flu shot so hopefully they can rule out if it’s the flu as the reason your visit. Any protection you can give to yourself or any family member is great for this year. 

Q. Rural Indiana has limited access to health care. Why did you make the decision to expand into central Indiana?

Mills. With COVID-19 going on a lot of the health departments are being pulled to do coronavirus testing sites. As Franciscan Alliance, we have decided to branch out and try to reach out to the communities that may not have access to a car and therefore won’t have access to getting a vaccine or have a doctor. So, we’ve been setting up drive-thru clinics in schools and community centers throughout central Indiana. 

Q. Is there a cost? And if so, is there financial assistance to those in need?

Mills. Yes. But we are able to bill all commercial insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid. If someone does not have insurance we can help them with a flu shot at a reduced price. The cost is $15 for those without insurance. 

Q. What else do you want to tell the people of Indiana?

Mills. A lot of people think it’s better to wait until the end of October to get a flu shot, but it’s better to get a flu shot now because it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to get into your system and protect you. We’ve already seen cases of influenza this year. So, to protect yourself and your family and your children the best time to get it is now.

The locations and dates are as follows:

Franciscan Health Stones Crossing (1703 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood)

  • Sunday, Oct. 4, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Franciscan Physician Network Southeast Family Medicine (964 Emerson Parkway, Greenwood)

  • Saturday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 1, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Franciscan Health CityWay Family & Sports Medicine (426 S. Alabama St., Indianapolis (parking lot of Irsay Family Medicine)

  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Franciscan Health Carmel (12188-B, N. Meridian St.)

  • Sunday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Franciscan Physician Network Columbus Primary & Specialty (parking lot, 123 2nd St.)

  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call the Franciscan Health Immunization Services at (317) 528-6374.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.