Flu shot and COVID booster availability in the Big Bend region

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TRI-COUNTY — Local healthcare entities are continuing to offer flu and COVID-19 booster shots as an increase in illnesses spikes during the winter weather and holiday season. 

Dr. Christie Alexander of the Marfa Country Clinic said in addition to COVID and the flu, the common cold and strep throat are also currently making their rounds in the community, likely due to the colder weather and people gathering closely indoors and traveling for the holidays. 

The Marfa Country Clinic recently ran out of flu shots but may order more, said Alexander. In general, she encouraged people to still seek out flu shots if they have not yet had one this season. Alexander explained that flu season lasts until the months of April and May each year, typically peaking around December and February. 

“We’re getting through one of the peaks now where we have seen a lot of flu. If predictions prevail, we’ll see another bump in February. So it’s really never too late to get it,” said Alexander. 

The Marfa Country Clinic is not currently offering COVID boosters, but Alexander said her staff is pointing patients to the Texas Department of State Health Services in Marfa for their COVID vaccines and boosters, and to call ahead on Thursdays when they offer the immunizations. 

Alexander said the best COVID booster available for those in need is the bivalent booster, which specifically protects against the now-dominant omicron variant of the virus as well as other strains. 

“It is the one to get now, whether you’ve been boosted before or not — go ahead and get that one because it’s covering more strains,” said Alexander. 

Alexander said while it is safe to receive the flu and COVID booster shots simultaneously, the double dose may result in more physical fatigue. In order to stay in good health this holiday season, Alexander recommended familiar, yet effective, preventative measures be taken. 

“Wearing masks, good hand washing: all of those preventive measures still prevail. There’s nothing new and improved. Stay well, get good sleep, good rest, just taking those added precautions that we started really ramping up when COVID first came on the scene,” said Alexander. 

Highland Drug in Alpine also reported an influx of patients with the flu and other illnesses, according to their pharmacist. They still have a stock of flu shots and various COVID boosters available, including regular flu shots and high-dose flu shots, recommended for those 65 and older. First and second doses of COVID vaccines, bivalent boosters, Moderna and Pfizer boosters as well as Pfizer boosters for children 5 to 12 are available. Walk-ins are welcome, with Highland Drug staff recommending calling ahead to confirm their hours at 432-837-3931. 

Prescription Shop Alpine is also taking walk-in appointments, with primary availability on Fridays. They are offering regular and high-dose flu shots, as well as bivalent, Moderna and Pfizer COVID booster shots for adults. Those seeking more information can call 432-837-3498. 

Preventative Care Health Services recommends patients call to make appointments for COVID booster shots, but walk-ins or appointments are welcome for flu shots. All three PCHS locations are offering the flu shot. 

The Alpine location is offering COVID boosters the last Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for adults, and from 3 to 4:45 p.m. for children. The Marfa location currently does not have a stock of COVID boosters and is awaiting a shipment. The Presidio location is offering booster shots on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to noon for adults and from 1 to 2 p.m. for children. Alpine and Presidio locations have bivalent and Moderna boosters for adults and Pfizer boosters for children. For more information, call 432-837-4812.