Free flu shots available in Chicago area as cases increase across the U.S.


Chicago's MedSpring Immediate Care said on Monday that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that flu season came early and had a big impact across several regions in the United States.

H1N1, or swine flu, has made a comeback after causing significant number of deaths in 2009. This year's flu immunization protects against H1N1, according to the CDC.

After receiving updated information about the impact of the flu this season, MedSpring Immediate Care said it would offer free flu immunizations to walk-in patients in its Lakeview, Naperville and Arlington Heights clinics on Tuesdays during January.

"After analyzing trends in this season's flu activity, we hope that we can help to reduce the risk of H1N1 in the Chicago area by offering free flu shots," Jon Belsher, the chief medical officer at MedSpring, said.

The southeast region of the U.S. saw an earlier and heavier flu season this year, which caused a spike in the number of patients seen in MedSpring's Texas clinics.

The CDC reported approximately 61 million cases of H1N1 in 2009, which led to 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.

The CDC recommends that people receive flu vaccinations in September, but vaccinations are available throughout the flu season.