Airports offer travelers new security: flu shots

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ATLANTA --- After taking off their shoes, emptying their pockets and passing through the security checkpoints, travelers at some major U.S. airports can roll up a sleeve and get a flu shot.

Danny Manzon, of Jacksonville, Fla., gets a flu shot from Stephanie Parks of The AeroClinic at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The business traveler hasn't had time to get one.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Danny Manzon, of Jacksonville, Fla., gets a flu shot from Stephanie Parks of The AeroClinic at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The business traveler hasn't had time to get one.

"The convenience is great," Danny Manzon, a busy, 53-year-old restaurant consultant, said after getting vaccinated Tuesday at a kiosk in front of an AirTran gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He said he had wanted to get a flu shot for three months but never had the time.

For years, some airports have been offering flu shots to airline passengers before they cleared security. But many travelers were afraid of missing their flights to stop.

So this year, airports in such cities as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Newark, N.J., and San Francisco, are setting up "airside" health stations close to the gates, past the security checkpoints.

The shots typically take just a few minutes and cost $15 to $35.

"It's helpful being on the airside because people don't know how long it's going to take getting through security so they don't want to take a risk of waiting in a medical clinic or being stuck in security and not making their plane," said Maureen Zampella, the director of nursing and general operations manager of Harmony Pharmacy & Health Center Inc., which is offering flu shots at the Newark airport.

The vaccinations are seen as particularly convenient for those who travel often on business.

"They don't have time to go to the physician," said Dr. Dominic Mack, chief medical officer of The AeroClinic, which offers shots from gateside kiosks in Atlanta.

Airline passengers receiving the shots won't be protected right away. It takes about two weeks for a shot to offer full protection.

Getting vaccinated now offers plenty of time for the shot to take effect before the peak flu season begins, typically after December.

Airport health officials said eventually they may offer other vaccinations, too, as well as cholesterol tests and screening for high blood pressure.

VACCINATION ON THE GO

Although U.S. airport health clinics have offered flu shots for years outside security checkpoints, many major U.S. airports now are offering the vaccinations near airplane gates. While you're waiting at the airport, don't hesitate to ask if flu shots are available.

AT HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: $35 flu shots are offered in two kiosks in Concourse C. About 2,800 shots have been administered so far this year.

-- Associated Press


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