During this year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 4-10, North Georgia Health District officials remind residents how important it is that they receive an annual flu shot.

Since flu viruses are constantly changing and immunity can decline over time, annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection, even during years when the particular flu viruses the vaccine protects against remain the same as in the previous season.

Getting vaccinated is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against flu, but their loved ones as well; and an annual flu shot is the most effective tool to continuously prevent the flu and flu-related complications that could become quite serious.

Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine because influenza can cause severe illness for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have high risk conditions. However, people with certain long-term health conditions are at greater risk of suffering from serious flu complications that could lead to hospitalization or even death. To view a complete list of people who are at highest risk, please see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.

Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before, especially in the North Georgia Health District where flu shots are now only $15 at public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties.

For more information about the flu vaccine, residents may call their local county health department or go online to http://www.cdc.gov/flu.

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