SuperTalk Mississippi

First Flu of the Season: Health Dept. Urges the Flu Shot After First Person Diagnosed

JACKSON, Miss.–The first person to get the flu in Mississippi this flu season has been diagnosed, said the Miss. Dept. of Health. The department is using this as an example to tell you that you should seriously consider the flu shot.

“This not only indicates that flu has been detected in the state, but it also serves as a reminder that now is the best time to get your flu shot,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “The flu shot takes one to two weeks to produce immunity, and although flu season usually peaks in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December.”

This news release from the HEalth Dept. has the info on the flu and the flu shot and where to get it:

Nationwide, an estimated 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.

While individual flu cases are not reported to MSDH, the agency monitors flu activity through the Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Sentinel Surveillance System, made up of healthcare providers in Mississippi who report the percentage of patients with flu- like symptoms to a statewide database. Healthcare providers participating in the system also submit respiratory samples for flu testing to the MSDH Public Health Laboratory. MSDH uses this information to determine the presence and spread of flu throughout the state.

Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for anyone age six months and older. Those particularly at risk for influenza complications include young children, adults 50 and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses.

“However even young and otherwise healthy people can have complications and die from the flu,” said Dobbs.

For adults, the different types of vaccinations available this year are as follows:

  • Seasonal flu vaccination for $30;
  • Flu nasal mist for $35;
  • High-dose flu vaccination for those 65 and older for $55; and
  • Pneumococcal vaccination for $83.

The MSDH accepts Medicaid, Medicare, and the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan (AHS). For those 18 and under, the MSDH will bill Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and all private health insurers for children’s vaccines. Those who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program or CHIP can receive the vaccination for $10.

While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently.

To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website at Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at

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