As part of a statewide effort, the Hamilton Veterans Administration Clinic is providing Bitterroot Valley veterans walk-in flu shots Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. No appointment is necessary, according to officials. The clinic is at the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Kurtz Lane on the east edge of Hamilton. Catherine Beall of the VA said that over 6,000 veterans have received free flu shots this month in Montana. Fourteen sites offered the shots as cold and flu season is arriving.

Missoula's VA Clinic at 2687 Palmer Street - Suite C is providing walk-in flu shots 5 days a week - Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shots will be given in the clinic's C3 lobby.

There are over 47,000 veterans enrolled in the VA in Montana, Beall reported, and the staff of Montana's VA centers totals about 1,400, and a third of those employees are veterans themselves. The 14 centers offering shots are Anaconda, Bozeman, Billings, Cut Bank, Fort Harrison in Helena, Glasgow, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Kalispell, Lewistown, Miles city, and Missoula and Hamilton.

Beall reminded the public that the flu is a vaccine-preventable disease and can cause severe illness to children and to adults who are 65 years or older, along with people who have conditions such as weakened immune systems, heart disease, asthma and kidney or liver disorders.

Dr. Judy Hayman said to the veterans in a news release, "Be leaders to keep our communities healthy. Get your flu shot, cover your cough, wash your hands often, avoid high risk social activities and stay home when you are sick."