The Missoula City County Health Department along with Blue Cross Blue Shield will be  offering free tetanus booster shots to residents, flood workers and volunteers on Wednesday afternoon.

Health Department Director Ellen Leahy said the Care Van and the vaccines are being provided free of charge by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“Thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield, because we couldn’t do it without their Care Van program,” said Leahy. “This is a special van that has been used around the state and they’ve actually used it recently in other flooded areas. We staff it with one of our registered nurses and provide immunizations, and since it is recommended that anyone exposed to flood waters receive a tetanus booster, and for people who have never had a tetanus shot, we can do that, too.”

Leahy explained the importance of the booster.

“Anyone who has been exposed to flood water, which is very dirty and contaminated and who may have a bruise of a scrape, that’s where tetanus comes from,” she said. “A booster will help protect you from tetanus, or what used to be called lockjaw. In the past, tetanus could be fatal, but with the vaccines available now, there is such good coverage that we very rarely ever see that now.”

The Care Van will be in the Wheat Montana parking lot on South 3rd Street West from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and the boosters are free of charge to residents in the flood area, volunteers who may have helped pack sand, and even for any first responders who may need a booster.