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It’s Not Too Early to Get Your Flu Vaccine

By Gretchen Smith

October 02, 2018

BUNNELL, FL – Based on recent reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the 2017/18 Flu season killed and hospitalized more people in the US last winter than any seasonal influenza in decades. The respiratory virus made millions of people sick and overwhelmed hospitals through the country. The CDC reported that influenza killed about 80,000 people last flu season, exceeding a previous record of 56,000 deaths. Further, the CDC estimates that between 15% and 40% of the US population will develop influenza each year, with an annual average of 36,000 people dying from the infection, and approximately 114,000 will be hospitalized.

As a new flu season gets underway, these statistics reinforce why it’s important to get a flu shot each year. Accordingly, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler (DOH-Flagler) recommends everyone age 6 months or older get a flu vaccine before Halloween and the official start of flu season in November.

“We encourage everyone to take flu seriously and take precaution by getting vaccinated,” explained Robert Snyder, health officer for DOH-Flagler. “Since our health department sees patients here every day, our staff wants to set an example by protecting ourselves, our coworkers and the clients we serve from flu infection. That’s why we are offering free flu shots to employees at our all-staff meeting his week.”

According to Snyder’s colleague and medical director Dr. Stephen Bickel, getting vaccinated also can reduce the seriousness of an infection in the event you actually catch one.

“Many studies show that vaccination can reduce the severity of illness in people who get sick,” said Bickel. “This means less flu-associated hospitalizations and fewer missed days from school or work. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for those who have or come into contact with individuals with higher risk of flu complications -- children under age 5, pregnant women, people 65 and older and those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease -- to get flu shots every year.”

The DOH-Flagler reminds residents that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu, and properly and frequently washing your hands also helps prevent flu from spreading. Other recommendations to prevent spreading germs include coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face. 

Put the flu vaccine between you and the disease this year by receiving your vaccination today. The DOH-Flagler is offering free flu shots effective immediately for children age 18 and under, adults on Medicaid, and adults on Medicare non-HMO, weekdays from 8 to 11AM. Individuals age 19 and older can get the vaccine for $15. No appointment is necessary

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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For information about the Florida Department of Health in Flagler, go to, call 386-437-7350, or visit 301 Dr. Carter Blvd. in Bunnell.