As flu rates continue to climb in Georgia and around the country, Coastal Health District officials are urging residents in Liberty, Long, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and McIntosh counties to protect themselves and others against the flu by getting vaccinated.
“One of the easiest New Year’s resolutions to make and keep is to get the flu vaccine,” said Elizabeth Hausauer, immunization coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “Cases of flu are on the rise and it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”
The flu vaccine is available in both a shot and nasal spray form at all Coastal Health District health departments and the cost is $25. Neither the flu shot nor the nasal spray can cause the flu. The shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women. The nasal spray is approved for use in healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
A “high-dose” flu vaccine is also available for those 65 and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the high-dose flu vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.
“Certain groups are at greater risk for complications from the flu including young children and older people,” Hausauer said. “That’s why it is so important to get vaccinated. When you get vaccinated against the flu, you are not only protecting yourself, but also your family and friends.”
For more information on the flu vaccine, go to www.gachd.org or www.cdc.gov.