Flu vaccines have arrived in SC - FOX Carolina 21

Flu vaccines have arrived in SC

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COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the flu vaccine is now available through private providers and county public health departments.

"Getting vaccinated against the flu is still the best way to protect yourself from serious illness," said Jerry Gibson, M.D., director of DHEC's Bureau of Disease Control. "The flu is a potentially serious respiratory illness caused by a very contagious virus. Each year in our state, we see thousands hospitalized by the flu, and we see many die. But being vaccinated can significantly reduce your chances of serious illness."

Vaccination clinics are scheduled to start at DHEC county public health departments statewide on Sept. 15.

According to DHEC, the flu season begins in October and is active until May, often peaking around February.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2011-2012 vaccine will protect against this season's three most common strains of the flu virus, which includes protection against H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus.

"We urge you to talk to your healthcare provider to determine which is appropriate for you," Gibson said. "Adults and older children need only one dose to be protected. But children younger than 9 need two doses to be fully protected. Vaccination is necessary this season, even if you were vaccinated against the flu last year."

DHEC recommends the shot for anyone 6 months and older and the nasal mist for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49.

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