Flu vaccinations still available; health department urges residents to get vaccinated

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"The Department of Health is working with local partners to increase access and convenience to flu vaccination for residents", said the county's Public Health Director, Jennifer Rodriguez, in a statement Wednesday. Recommendations vary depending on your age and disease, but people who are more vulnerable to a flu complication because of a pre-existing health problem may benefit from the added protection of the vaccine.

Influenza cases themselves are not reportable, therefore, those numbers are unknown.

In addition, 10 more flu-related deaths were reported in children as of the week ending February 3, bringing the total number of children who have died of flu-related causes to 63 for the season, which began in October.

The free shots are being offered as part of the Tennessee Health Department's initiative "Flu Shot Friday".

In a separate letter to parents, Scully said steps are being taken to make sure each school is "well scrubbed" and "has been cleaned in a more aggressive manner these past few weeks". This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week.

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Dr. Bamberger also emphasizes you can't get the flu from the flu vaccine, and it's still not to late for a flu shot this flu season.

The CDC says that flu kills from 12,000 to 59,000 people every year. Of the almost 3,000 deaths, 78.3 percent were people ages 65 and older, totaling 2,271.

As of February 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there have been 63 flu-associated pediatric deaths nationwide. Hensley said 143 flu shots have been given at the health department alone this year and do not reflect those vaccinations given at other healthcare facilities such as doctor's offices and clinics.

"The 10 percent vaccine effectiveness (VE) figure reported in the news is an Australian interim estimate of the vaccine's benefit against one flu virus (the H3N2 virus) that circulated in Australia during its most recent flu season", the website states. "CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination because the vaccine can still prevent some infections with now circulating influenza viruses, which are expected to continue circulating for several weeks". The adult shot protects against two strains of influenza A and one of influenza B, whereas the child shot protects against an additional influenza B strain.

The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get a flu shot. We like to think the days of chilling mortality rates, like those associated with the Spanish flu, are far behind us.