The Columbia County Health Department hopes its nearly 50 flu clinics throughout the county will prevent cases of the respiratory illness.
Flu vaccinations will start today and continue throughout October. Clinics will be held at all Columbia County elementary, middle and high schools.
The injections, in addition to the nasal-spray FluMist, will be available.
"We did the clinics in the schools for the first time last year," said Leah Uscanga, the property and supply supervisor for the Columbia County Health Department. "Some of them had very good turnout and some not so good. Hopefully, we'll have a good response this year."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations of who should get the vaccination. Among them are children between the ages of six months and 18 years, adults 50 and older and pregnant women.
"We suggest that all people who want to reduce the risk of getting the flu or flulike symptoms get the vaccination," Uscanga said.
She said that it will take about two weeks for the vaccine to work on people who have come in contact with a virus.
"It's a matter of getting it into the system good and fighting it off," she said.
The flu vaccination, however, does come with a very small set of possible side effects. Among them are soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, a low-grade fever and aches.
The nasal-spray vaccination, FluMist, has different possible side effects in children and adults.
Flu strains mutate, so even with the vaccination a person can still get the flu.
The vaccination works to reduce the severity of the virus and its symptoms, Uscanga said.
She does not expect vaccination shortages.
"I have spoken with several different companies that provide flu vaccinations and they have told me we have ample supply. There will be no shortage whatsoever this year," she said.
The injection costs $25, and FluMist, $30. Cash, checks, Medicaid and Medicare Part B will be accepted. Checks should be made payable to the Columbia County Health Department. Students who want to be vaccinated must have a parent present.
Businesses with 10 or more employees who want to get the vaccination can call the Columbia County Health Department at (706) 868-3330 to schedule a flu clinic at the business.
The Evans Health Department also offers a walk-in clinic each Friday from 8-10:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
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