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National Influenza Vaccination Week: It’s not too late for the flu shot

JACKSON, MISS– Even though advertisements for the flu shot start circulating at the end of September, it still is not too late to get your flu shot, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.

The peak season for the flu is in the winter months, but a flu shot should not be delayed.

“Just a few weeks ago, we reported the first case of influenza (flu) confirmed in the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory for the 2016-2017 flu season,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “..It can take the flu shot one to two weeks to produce immunity.”

Across the United States, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of the flu, and on active years, as many as 49,000 have died from it.

Doctors and primary care physicians offer the flu shot, but the adult flu vaccine is no longer offered at county health clinics, unless they are uninsured or underinsured. Vaccines for children under the age of 18 are just $10 at county clinics.

Medicaid and CHIP are accepted for the pediatric flu shot.

“The change this year is due to the availability of flu shots in other healthcare settings such as private physicians and pharmacies, giving those with insurance many options for vaccinations,” said Dr. Byers. “However, we do encourage all Mississippians six months and older to get vaccinated.”

Alongside the vaccine, frequent hand-washing, covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze, and staying home when you’re sick can help slow the spread of germs and illnesses.

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