September 27, 2019–12:16 a.m.
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The Floyd County Health Department, 16 East 12th Street, Rome, is now offering flu vaccines on a walk-in basis. Public health experts say now is a good time for people to consider getting vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.
“Get your flu vaccine as soon as it is available each year,” says Alison Watson, nurse manager at the Floyd County Health Department. There’s plenty of it available in our community right now, including at the health department where we have the quadrivalent vaccine that provides broader protection against circulating flu viruses. We also have the high-dose influenza vaccine, which is more effective for persons 65 years of age and older.”
Watson says everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Flu season can start early, and it takes about two weeks after your vaccination for the full antibody effect to develop and provide flu protection. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated in September or early October before the flu season really kicks in.
“The flu shot will last through the flu season,” Watson says. “It’s never too early to get a flu shot, as we cannot accurately predict when the influenza season will begin, but it can be too late.” Flu season usually begins in October but can begin as early as September and last well into March. Peak flu season in Georgia usually occurs in late January and early February.
Who should get a flu vaccine? Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complication from influenza, including:
- Children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years,
- adults 65 years of age and older,
- pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum,
- residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and
- people who have medical conditions including asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
It is especially important to get the flu vaccine if you, someone you live with, or someone you care for is at high risk of complications from flu. It’s also recommended that pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy. There’s added value to the seasonal flu vaccine for pregnant women, too. Not only does it protect them against the flu, it also protects their newborn infants, for up to the first few months of life at least, at a time when infants are too young to receive the vaccine themselves.
Acceptable payment methods include cash, credit-or-debit card, all Medicaid plans, Medicare, Cigna, Aetna, United Healthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Clients may call the health department at 706-295-6123 for pricing information.
Floyd County Health Department hours are Monday – Wednesday 8 am to 5 pm, Thursday 8 am to 6:30 pm, and Friday 8 am to 2 pm. Please note that the health department is closed for lunch Monday – Thursday 12 noon to 1 pm and for staff training from 8 am to 12 noon the third Thursday of every month.
Contact the Floyd County Health Department, 16 East 12th Street, Rome, at 706-295-6123; the Environmental Health office at 706-295-6316, or www.nwgapublichealth.org/counties/floyd. Follow us on Facebook to receive news, emergency messages, and health-and-safety information at https://www.facebook.com/FloydDPH.
For more information about seasonal influenza and flu vaccines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm