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Flu shot cheaper and available earlier

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

THOMASVILLE,  GA (WALB) - Every year about 36,000 people die from the seasonal flu.  Health Departments in southwest Georgia began offering flu shots last week.

Wednesday people in Thomas county had the whole day to get a flu shot without even getting out of their car.

The seasonal flu vaccine is being offered ealier than usual, and at a cheaper price.

Health officials say getting your seasonal flu shot is more important now than ever, because it's an important way to fight the spread of pandemic H1N1 virus, it doesn't protect against swine flu, but it will help prevent co-infections.

So in Thomas county, 900 vaccines were on hand to do just that.

"Have you ever had a flu shot?" asked a health official. "No mam, it's my first time," one patient said.

It was the most common answer at the drive-thru flu clinic in Thomas County. The pandemic H1N1 virus may have scared people into getting a seasonal flu shot, for the first time.

"This is my first flu shot. With the swine flu, it does make you think twice," said Marcia Scanlan.

Dozens of health officials worked three lanes of traffic. The process was simple. Roll up your sleeves, get stuck by a needle, and drive off.

"We have been extremely busy. We probably saw more in the first two hours than we did in six last year," said Shemika Lucas, Enivornmental Health Specialist at the Thomas county Health Department.

The seasonal flu shot is available almost a month earlier than it was last year, and at a lower price.

"Last year it was 25, this year it's 20. We wanted to push the initiative," she said.

An initiative that worked for the people who used their lunch break to get a shot, instead of a burger.

"I work in the health field, as an EMT, so I'm around sick people all the time," said one man.

"I work with young children, I want to be as healthy as I can so I don't pass anything to them," said Kimberly Armstrong.

Clinic workers weren't taking any risks either with hand sanitizer at every station.  Everyone just doing what they can to stay healthy, and flu-free.

And we know it seems redundant, but health officials continue to stress washing hands and coughing in your sleeve as simple ways to prevent getting sick. And most importantly, if you are sick, don't go to work, don't go to school, stay home.

The vaccine for H1N1 won't be available until mid-October at the earliest.

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