Tennessee’s county health department clinics are now offering flu vaccine to people of all ages at no cost to patients until vaccine supplies are depleted. Seasonal influenza is now circulating with cases increasing across the country. The Department of Health urges all Tennesseans who have not yet received a flu vaccine to get one now to help protect themselves and those around them from the flu virus.
“This flu season has been later in coming and some vaccine supplies took longer to arrive, so consequently, we have a supply of flu vaccine available and want to use it to protect vulnerable people in Tennessee, both those who can be vaccinated and especially those that can’t,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “While we’re not seeing many cases at this time, the CDC is reporting cases of severe respiratory illness among young to middle-aged adults who have been diagnosed with flu in recent weeks, mostly in unvaccinated people. So first, do get vaccinated and second, report any flu-like illness to your health care provider to see if you would benefit from antiviral medication. Either or both could literally save the life of someone you love.”
Contact your local health department for information on getting a flu vaccine, as vaccine supplies and plans to provide vaccinations will vary from county to county. A list of Tennessee’s county health department clinics is available online at http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.
Delayed delivery of certain influenza vaccine products means supplies are still available in local health departments. TDH operates health department clinics in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Flu vaccine will be provided to both adults and children at these facilities at no cost to patients until all doses are administered. The Knox County Health Department will begin offering flu vaccine at no cost to patients Feb. 9 at all three clinic locations. Nashville’s Metro Public Health Department began offering flu vaccine at no cost to patients Feb. 8.
“The 2009 H1N1 flu strain is the most commonly detected strain of the virus circulating in the U.S. right now. This strain is more likely to cause severe illness in unprotected children and younger adults compared to other seasonal influenza strains,” said Tennessee Immunization Program Director Kelly Moore, MD. “The good news is that our vaccine is a good match to this strain and other strains of flu that are circulating this year, so get it now if you haven’t yet been vaccinated this flu season.”
TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of six months. Flu activity most often peaks in February and can last into May. To learn more about flu vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
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