NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some health departments in Tennessee have begun offering free flu shots in the hopes that more people will get vaccinated.
The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1lUqON4) reports some health departments began offering the free shots on Friday and the Metro Nashville health department will begin offering them Monday.
The number of flu cases has risen in the last few weeks, and the virus has killed 12 people in Middle Tennessee.
Health officials say flu season will continue through February, so it’s not too late to get a shot.
Kroger pharmacist Bill Staggs said the vaccine is worth getting, especially as the number of cases increase.
“We’ve had as many or more flu (cases) in the last three weeks than we had in the past two months,” he said.
As cases of flu rise, local pharmacies and clinics have seen an increase in the number of people getting vaccinations. Department of Health spokeswoman Shelley Walker says nearly 70,000 people have gotten shots through public health clinics.
“It’s been dramatically higher recently, but we don’t have nearly as many (people coming in) as we should,” Staggs said.
Sumner County Health Department Director Hal Hendricks said residents “are paying particular attention now,” after the death of an 11-year-old Hendersonville girl due to complications from the virus.
The flu strain affecting most people this year is H1N1, which can hit children and young adults especially hard. Walker said the vaccine this season is specifically designed to fight that strain.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com