Local health dept. to hold flu, COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Sep. 29—CHEYENNE — Cheyenne Laramie County Public Health will hold a flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinic next week that will be open to the public.

The clinic will take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Events Center, 1230 W. 8th Ave. All ages are welcome.

The local health department takes private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. Attendees should make sure to bring their health insurance cards or information.

Without insurance, flu shots range between $25 and $95, depending on the type, health department Executive Director Kathy Emmons said in a Wednesday interview. A regular flu vaccine costs $25, but other variants — for children, for the elderly and for an egg-free version — may cost more.

The department does not charge for COVID-19 vaccines themselves. Like previous vaccination clinics, recipients will have to pay an administration fee.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines will be available. Clinic attendees can receive the original COVID-19 vaccine if they haven't completed their two-part series, or, if they have, can receive the bivalent booster targeted at the highly transmissible omicron variant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the bivalent booster late last month.

About 400 people were vaccinated at a combination flu and coronavirus vaccine clinic put on by the public health department last year, Emmons said. That number is the goal for this year.

"We'll have lots of people there giving shots, so we don't anticipate that there will be long lines," the director said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it's safe to get both vaccinations at the same time and recommends people receive their annual flu vaccine by the end of October.

"This is an easy way to get both of them done at one time, and then you don't have to worry about it for the rest of the year," Emmons said.

According to the Wyoming Department of Health, nearly 50% of Laramie County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning they've received both shots in the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series, or a single Janssen shot. This is slightly higher than Wyoming as a whole, which is at 47.6%.

Older Wyomingites are leading the charge in vaccination rates, with almost 80% of people 65 and older in the state having received the shots. That amount is 82.4% in Laramie County.

Adults 18 and older in the state trail with 56.6%. Adolescents ages 12-17 are at 34%, and just 14% of children ages 5-11 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Emmons said Cheyenne Regional Medical Center has had no COVID-19 patients for the past 10 days or so, and state health department data show a low rate of confirmed cases. And the CDC deems the disease's community level as low in Laramie County. This means masks are not recommended except for "people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19."

With a recent rise in cases in the U.K., Emmons said the U.S. and Wyoming may soon see a similar uptick by mid-October.

Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at hblack@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.