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Florida Surgeon General Urges Vaccination As Best Defense Against Rapidly Spreading Flu Virus

By Patricia Roberts

January 09, 2020

January 9, 2020


Contact:Patti Roberts, PIO

DeFuniak Springs, Fla.— The Florida Department of Health (Department) is strongly
encouraging all unvaccinated residents to get their flu shot as soon as possible. Flu vaccination
is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, nationwide, for the
2019-2020 season so far, there have been at least 6.4 million cases of influenza, more than
55,000 associated hospitalizations and approximately 2,900 related deaths. For Florida flu
statistics, please visit the Department’s
Florida Flu Review website.

“With this year’s flu season in full swing, it is critical that adults and children get the flu vaccine
to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others”, said
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “By getting a flu shot now, you will protect yourself, as
well as your family and friends.”

Influenza is a contagious virus that can spread rapidly in our communities and cause severe
illness resulting in hospitalization or death”, said
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees.
“Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu; it reduces the spread of the virus and can
also help make illnesses less severe for those who do still get sick.”

Get the Flu Shot

The vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women.
Individuals that are at most risk for getting severely ill from the flu are young children, pregnant
women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or
lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against
the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting a flu vaccine
every year because flu viruses evolve quickly, and last year’s vaccine may not protect against
the current year’s strain. Even if the vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, it may reduce
the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications.

Where to Get the Flu Shot

Flu vaccines are offered at health care providers’ offices, clinics, county health departments,
pharmacies, schools, college health centers and from many employers. Find flu vaccine in your
area: Learn more:

The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) offers flu shots by
appointment at its clinic locations in DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach. Shots for
children ages 6 months through 18 years are free through the Vaccines for Children Program.
Adult flu shots are $37.00. Medicare may also cover the flu shot for those who are eligible. To
schedule an appointment, contact DOH-Walton at 850-892-8015.

Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu

Good health habits like washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent
respiratory illnesses like the flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand

Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing may prevent those
around you from getting sick. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in
your home, school or office.

Flu vaccines and good hand hygiene are still the go-to recommendations for prevention;
however, public health officials say it's just as important to contain the virus, and that means
staying home when you're sick.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to
protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county
and community efforts.

Follow us on
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the
Florida Department of Health please visit