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Prisma Health is offering free flu shots in October. Here's where.

Free flu shots will be available at at multiple drive-thru sites in Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In October, Prisma Health will launch its annual Midlands community free flu vaccination campaign to offer protection from the highly contagious virus. 

Free flu shots will be available at at multiple drive-thru sites in Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties. These sites will offer only flu shots, which are available for anyone six months and older.  

RELATED: Why it's more important than ever to get the flu shot this year

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in this latest surge, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccination,” said Vince Ford, senior vice president of community health services. “I know we are asking a lot by encouraging everyone eligible to be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, but these vaccines are life-saving and at the very least can reduce the severity of illness.”  

Why get the flu vaccine?

Because flu symptoms closely mirror COVID-19 symptoms, it can be virtually impossible to differentiate between flu and COVID-19 without testing. That means a case of the flu, even if it turns out to be mild, can cause substantial disruption to school and work for patients forced to isolate. 

RELATED: Doctor explains how to tell the difference between COVID-19, flu

While flu is highly contagious, flu immunizations can significantly diminish its spread. Even if someone immunized against the flu still gets the flu, their illness is typically less severe and shorter in duration. 

Virtually everyone, including pregnant women and children six months or older, should be vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination is particularly important for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart and lung diseases.

RELATED: VERIFY: October is the best time to get a flu shot. Here's why

Know before you go:

  • Flu shots will be administered by drive-through, with the exception of the 9 Medical Park lobby location.

  • For drive-through locations, there will be limited capacity to provide vaccines outside of the vehicle for children, if needed.

  • Flu shots at 9 Medical Park will be administered in the first-floor lobby area every Wednesday and Thursday in October from 3–6 p.m.

  • High-dosage flu vaccines for individuals age 65 and over will be offered at all locations except Dent Middle School.

  • Please wear a short-sleeve shirt or loose-fitting clothing that can easily roll up to assist with vaccines.

  • Face masks or shields will be required, along with temperature checks. Anyone with a fever will not be allowed a flu shot vaccine.

  • Flu vaccines cannot be given to those who have COVID-19 or think they have COVID-19.

  • Consent forms are required and available at each site. Children under the age of 16 require a parent/guardian signature. Flu shots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

RELATED: Can you get the flu shot and the COVID booster at the same time?

Free flu shot schedule and sites:

Wednesday, Oct. 6–Thursday, Oct. 28, 3–6 p.m.
(Every Wednesday and Thursday)

  • Prisma Health Richland Hospital Campus: 9 Richland Medical Park Dr., Columbia, SC 29203

Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • Lower Richland High School: 2615 Lower Richland Blvd., Hopkins, SC 29061
  • Columbia International University: 7435 Monticello Rd., Columbia, SC 29203

Saturday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • Dent Middle School: 2721 Decker Blvd., Columbia, SC 29206
  • Sumter High School: 2580 McCray’s Mill Rd., Sumter, SC 29154 (Enter through gate 1)

Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • Dreher High School: 3319 Millwood Ave., Columbia, SC 29205
  • Crossroads Intermediate School: 6949 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC 29212

Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • St. Andrews Middle School: 1231 Bluefield Dr., Columbia, SC 29210
  • Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2I2): 765 Fashion Dr., Columbia, SC 29229

Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • W.A. Perry Middle School (Challenger Parking Lot): 2600 Barhamville Rd., Columbia, SC 29204
  • Webber Elementary School: 140 Webber School Rd., Eastover, SC 29044
  • Soda City Market: 1300-1600 Main St., Columbia, SC 29201

RELATED: Why doctors warn this flu season could be especially bad and people need to get their shots