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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Influenza vaccination Q&A

Published in For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO

Editor’s note: CentraCare Clinic Health Plaza Pediatrics Jill Amsberry, DO, sat down to talk on Facebook Live to discuss influenza vaccination questions. Here is a sample of the information followed by the full video from the Facebook Live event.

Q: Who should receive the influenza vaccine?

Dr. Amsberry: We recommend vaccination for anyone ages six months and older. It's particularly important in certain populations who are more at risk such as children less than 5, people older than 65 or people with underlying autoimmune diseases such as asthma and other chronic lung issues.

Q: When should the vaccine be received?

Dr. Amsberry: We typically want people to have received the vaccination by the end of October. The vaccine takes about two weeks to develop immunity and so we know that the most common time for flu season is end of October through spring — with the peak being January-February.

Q: What about the flu mist? Is that a good alternative to the shot?

Dr. Amsberry: The flu mist has been around for a long time. We found that flu mist from 2010 to 2017 wasn’t as good at protecting against one specific strain: H1N1. It still was really as effective as the shot at protecting against Influenza B and the other strain H3N2 but not H1N1. Last year the flu mist was not recommended at all.

This year, the manufacturers have added some components and changed the H1N1 portion. So the belief is that the flu mist will be as effective as the shot itself. We just don’t have a lot of info on that, so the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying to use the flu mist as a last resort. At CentraCare, we won’t have the flu mist available.