Seasonal flu vaccinations now available at all county health departments

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 4, 2022

JACKSON, Miss. – Seasonal influenza vaccinations are now available for children and qualifying adults at all Mississippi State
Department of Health (MSDH) county health departments. Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age
and older as the best protection against the flu.

“In Mississippi we are already seeing increased flu activity, including reports of increased hospital admissions for flu-related
illness and increased emergency department visits,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We recommend that
all Mississippians get their flu shots every year because this can be and is beneficial in protecting against severe illness,
complications and hospitalizations.”

Byers added that both the flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination or boosters can be given at the same time.

Flu season typically starts in November and lasts as late as March in Mississippi, but usually peaks anywhere between
December and February.

Individual flu cases are not reported to MSDH, but the agency monitors flu activity through the ILI System, made up of
healthcare providers in Mississippi who report the percentage of patients with flu-like symptoms to a statewide database.

Providers participating in the system also submit respiratory samples for flu testing to the MSDH Public Health Laboratory.
State health officials use this information to determine the presence and spread of flu throughout the state.

Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive a flu vaccination for $10. Insurance,
Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children’s flu shots. A list of all VFC providers can
be found at www.HealthyMS.com/vfc.

Adults who are underinsured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria qualify for an adult flu vaccination at all
MSDH county health department clinics. Flu shots for insured adults are now widely available through private physicians,
pharmacies and retail centers.

While vaccination is the best protection against flu, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and
should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing
and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently. Wearing a face
covering in public places offers additional protection against the flu.

Please call your local county health department to make an appointment for your vaccination.

To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu, visit the MSDH website at
www.HealthyMS.com/flu. Follow MSDH by email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.