With flu season fast approaching, health officials are urging you to get your shot.
Seasonal influenza vaccinations are now available for children and qualifying adults at all Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) county health departments. The MSDH recommends the shot for everyone 6 months of age and older.
“We recommend that all Mississippians get their flu shots every year, but especially now with COVID-19. The flu vaccine can be given at the same time – or any time before or after – the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no minimum amount of time you need to wait between these vaccinations,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said.
Dr. Byers explains that flu season can begin as early as November and last as late as March in Mississippi, but usually peaks anywhere from December through February.
In addition to getting the flu shot, ways to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading the flu are similar to the prevention measures for COVID-19 and include:
- Covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing,
- Staying at home when you or your children are sick
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Wearing a face covering in public places offers additional protection against the flu.
“We recommend getting vaccinated now before we reach peak flu activity. Influenza vaccination is especially important for young children, pregnant women, those over 65, and those with underlying health problems,” Dr. Byers said. “Flu vaccination is the best way to protect both children and adults from serious complications such as hospitalization, and in many cases, death.”
Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive a flu vaccination for $10. Insurance, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children’s flu shots. A list of all VFC providers can be found at www.HealthyMS.com/vfc.
Adults who are underinsured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria qualify for an adult flu vaccination at MSDH county health department clinics. Flu shots for insured adults are now widely available through private physicians, pharmacies and retail centers.