Cases of influenza have spiked across the Southeastern U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department encourages everyone who can be vaccinated against flu to do so. Free flu shots are available at their clinics for anyone who is 19-64 years-old and uninsured.
So far, the predominant strain of flu circulating is H1N1, which is included in this year’s vaccine. The CDC notes that during the 2009 pandemic, H1N1 caused more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults.
“It’s important to remember than anyone can become seriously ill from flu,” said Becky Barnes, administrator at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. “There have been a number of severe cases of respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults."
Vaccination not only protects you, but also those around you who might be more vulnerable to complications from flu, such as children younger than six months and people with chronic health conditions. The Health Department has free injectable (shot) vaccine for anyone 19-64 years-old who does not have health insurance.
Call or visit one of these health clinics:
Third Street Facility – 209-8050
Ooltewah Health Center – 238-4269
Sequoyah Health Center – 842-3031
Birchwood Health Center – 961-0446
Officials said everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. People who get vaccinated are less likely to need treatment for the flu by a healthcare provider. Getting the vaccine has been shown to offer substantial other benefits including reducing illness, antibiotic use, time lost from work, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Flu Vaccine Options:
The Health Department offers trivalent injectable (shot) or nasal mist (FluMist) vaccine. Note: The federally funded free vaccine is only available as a trivalent injectable (shot) vaccine.
The flu shot is approved for people older than six months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
As an alternative to the flu shot, healthy, non-pregnant, people ages 2 to 49 years may choose the nasal spray vaccine, FluMist.
Flu Vaccine Cost:
The cost of the flu shot or nasal spray vaccine is $32.
Pneumonia vaccine is available for $90.
Flu and pneumonia vaccines combined are $100.
The Health Department accepts Medicare Part B, Blue Advantage, Railroad Medicare, TennCare, cash, or check.
Uninsured and underinsured children may receive vaccine at no charge or reduced charged based on a sliding scale.
Uninsured adults, ages 19-64, may receive the federally funded injectable flu vaccine free of charge.
For more information visit http://health.hamiltontn.org/.