Early Season Flu Outbreaks Prompt Health District to Urge Vaccinations
GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – Following two early season outbreaks, the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) encourages people to not delay getting their seasonal flu vaccination. Two outbreaks in September affected 24 people.
“We typically don’t see flu outbreaks as early as September, so we’re a bit concerned this could be an indication of an active season ahead,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority. “At the very least, these two outbreaks should serve as a reminder why folks should not put off getting the shot.”
People 6-months and older should be vaccinated for the flu. Vaccination is especially important for certain high-risk groups. People 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications or even death if they get the flu.
The flu vaccine is available at the GCHD Immunization Clinic located at 9850-B Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. The clinic is walk-in and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with hours extended until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Flu shots are $34 each. Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield, cash, check, debit and credit cards are accepted. Cash prices are available for self-pay. More information is available by calling 409-949-3459.
The vaccine is also available by-appointment to registered patients at the Texas City and Galveston Coastal Health & Wellness clinics. For registration or appointment information, please call 409-938-2234.
“No matter if you get it at one of our clinics, your private physician or a pharmacy, you just need to make sure you actually go and do it,” Keiser continued. “The flu shot is the best protection against the virus. Period.”
In addition to vaccination, people should help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by covering all coughs and sneezes, washing their hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and staying at home when sick.
While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu outbreaks typically happen as early as October and can last as late as May.