DHEC: It's time for flu vaccines in SC - FOX Carolina 21

DHEC: It's time for flu vaccines in SC

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Now that the flu season is upon us, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) urges citizens to get their vaccinations.

Last week South Carolina suffered its first flu-associated death of the season in the Midlands.

"We are in the beginning stages of our state's flu season," explained Teresa Foo MD, MPH, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant. "Which is why it is important to get vaccinated now.

Health officials say that even if you got vaccinated last year, you should do it again this year. Protection from the last season decreases over time, and officials said that the flu vaccine is updated annually to keep up with changing flu viruses.

"The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up your body's protection against the virus, and vaccination is - by far - the best way to prevent the spread of the flu."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised the use of the nasal spray flu vaccine for the 2016-2017 flu season due to concerns that the spray was ineffective in protecting against the H1N1 influenza virus in the past. Officials said that the flu shot still provides good protection from influenza.

Dr. Foo explained that flu vaccines are available from several local providers, doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces. She said that beginning on October 17, DHEC County public health departments would also offer flue vaccines.

DHEC and the CDC recommend everyone 6-months-old and older receive a vaccine for the flu.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics will be available by appointment. You can call to make an appointment at 1-800-868-0404 or on their website to find a location closest to you.

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