Health officials continue to stress the importance of getting your flu shot in 2020.
With that in mind, the Mississippi State Department of Health is reminding you that flu shots are now available for children and qualifying adults at all county health departments. The MSDH recommends the vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the best protection against the flu.
“We recommend that all Mississippians get their flu shots every year, but especially this year with COVID-19. We don’t want to risk overwhelming our hospitals,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said.
Dr. Byers said that flu season can occur as early as November and as late as March in Mississippi but usually peaks anywhere from December through February.
“We recommend getting vaccinated now before we reach peak flu activity. Influenza vaccine is especially important for young children, pregnant women, those over 65, and those with underlying health problems,” he said. “Flu vaccination is the best way to protect both children and adults from serious complications such as hospitalization, and in many cases, death.”
The MSDH provided the following information regarding the cost of the vaccine at the county health departments.
“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.”
Much like COVID-19, flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle and body aches, and fatigue. Reducing your risk of contracting the flu will also help to avoid confusion should you begin to show symptoms of the coronavirus.
Most people recover from the flu without complications, but nationwide there are up to 200,000 hospitalizations from flu each year.
Again, similar to COVID-19, you can help to prevent the spread of the flu and reduce your own risk by covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently. Wearing a face covering in public places offers additional protection against the flu.