The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this season. -- File Photo

‘Tis the season to get your flu shot

Published 8:21pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The high temperatures this time of year still might reach over the century mark, but what is often a right of passage each Fall — the annual flu shot — is making an earlier arrival than years past.

The Alabama Department of Public Health released information Wednesday, encouraging those 6-months-old and older to go ahead and get their annual flu shot.

“We have seen a large quantity of the flu shots already come into the state and we are suggesting residents go ahead and get their shot from any provider in their community,” said Winkler Sims with the public health department. “These providers, both public and private, may be starting flu shot clinics over the coming weeks.”

Officials with the Dallas County Health Department were unavailable for comment Wednesday and those at the office did not know when the department’s first flu shot clinic would be organized.

In Wednesday’s release, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged vaccination “of all persons 6 months of age and older against influenza as soon as vaccine becomes available.”

“We recommend you receive a flu vaccine regardless of whether you had one last year,” Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said.

“The CDC calls a yearly flu vaccine the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.”

The vaccination is highly recommended for those persons who are considered at high risk of influenza-related complications.

Those groups include: all children younger than five years of age; adults 50 years of age and older; adults and children with chronic disorders; pregnant women; children aged 6 months through 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; persons who are immunosuppressed; health care workers; out-of-home caregivers and those morbidly obese.

The department also reminded residents that an average of 36,000 people die each year from the flu in the United States.

They also encourage residents to contact their private physician or the local county health department for a flu clinic schedule.

For more information, contact the Immunization Division of the Alabama Department of Public Health at (334) 206-5023 or toll-free at (800) 469-4599.
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