KANSAS CITY, Mo. — RSV is already in Kansas City, and the flu season is quickly approaching.

Children’s Mercy Hospital says it is experiencing a spike in RSV hospitalizations. Doctors say the virus is hitting the metro a little sooner than it normally does.

While a flu shot doesn’t protect against RSV, health experts suggest getting a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster vaccination before Halloween to make sure you’re fully protected against those illnesses before the holiday season.

The Johnson County Health Department said it is seeing an increase in people who want to get a flu shot.

A doctor at University Health in Kansas City says the increased interest is a good thing this year.

“The data that we have, we are experiencing this year’s flu season to be much worse than the last two years,” Dr. Sayo Weihs, PharmD at University Health, said. “Not everyone is masked anymore and more people are congregating together and so we will likely see much worse in the flu season and its spread.”

According to the Johnson County Health Department, so many people want flu vaccines and COVID-19 boosters, its walk-in clinics are experiencing longer waiting times.

“In addition to demand for flu and COVID boosters at this time of year, many school districts are sending out school exclusion letters again notifying parents that their children’s required school vaccines are due. This has led to in influx of people coming to our immunization clinics the past few weeks. We would advise parents that need these required school vaccines to also contact their child’s doctor, search on vaccines.gov for a vaccine provider or call the number on the back of their insurance card to find nearby in-network providers.”

Johnson County Health Department

The backup may exceed two hours, according to a post on Facebook. If the wait exceeds hours of operation, the health department may ask people to leave and return the next day.

Weihs says you’ll want to make sure you either go back or get vaccinated somewhere else, and do it sooner than later.

“Most of the people have not seen flu. No one has gotten flu in the last two years. Our immunity against influenza is much lower naturally. By getting the vaccine, we should hopefully have much better protection,” Weihs said.

It’s easy to find a location offering vaccines. Visit vaccines.gov to find a location near you. Appointments are also available at many pharmacies and grocery store pharmacies.

Those with health insurance or Medicaid can also call the phone number on the back of your insurance card to find an in-network provider.

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