NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Winter is still 14 weeks away, but state and federal officials are already pushing hard for Americans to get their flu shots.
Last year’s influenza reached epidemic proportions with the Centers for Disease Control reporting some 700,000 Americans were hospitalized. The agency also reports 180 children died of the illness. Four out of five of those youngsters did not get the vaccine.
Tennessee State Epidemiologist Tim Jones says the sooner you get that shot the better.
“It takes a couple of weeks for it to kick in, but any time it’s convenient to receive it, it’s better to go ahead and get it rather than waiting until we’re surrounded by the disease.”
The flu vaccine isn’t always especially effective, but Dr. Jones says this year’s formulation is expected to do well.
Jones notes that children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable and should get a shot. He’s urging mid-state resident to get the vaccine even if they don’t fall into one of the vulnerable categories.
“If you’re the one who is sort of responsible for spreading it to them and it can be really dangerous. You know, we’ve really got to try to avoid that, in addition to preventing illness in yourself.”
Jones says the vaccine is currently available. You can find it being offered in many local pharmacies. Your family physician likely has it on hand as well.
If cost is a problem, Dr. Jones notes that every county in Tennessee has a health clinic where you can get a shot free or at reduced cost.