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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 12, 2011

Flu vaccine available in S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Flu vaccine has arrived in South Carolina and is available through private providers and county public health departments, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“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.”

Dr. Gibson said vaccination clinics are being scheduled at DHEC county public health departments statewide, starting Sept. 15. He added that the flu typically arrives in October and is active until May, usually peaking around February.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the 2011-2012 vaccine will protect against the three most common strains of the virus circulating this season. The vaccine includes protection against H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus.

The flu shot is recommended for anyone 6 months and older, while the nasal mist is offered for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49.

“We urge you to talk to your healthcare provider to determine which is appropriate for you,” Dr. 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.”

To learn more about the flu and availability of vaccine in your community, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/flu.

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For more information:
Jim Beasley – (803) 898-7769
Email – beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov
JBNR1109