Doctors warning people not to wait on flu shots

St. Augustine clinic offering vaccines free of charge to those who need them

Washing your hands, getting sleep and eating well are some of the steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – With flu season upon us, doctors are warning people to get their flu shots right away.

In Northeast Florida, flu season typically falls during the winter months, but it starts as early as the beginning of October and can last into the spring months.

There were nine outbreaks of influenza reported throughout the state this past week, according to the Florida Department of Health. Most of those cases came from schools and day-care facilities with as many as two cases being reported in St. Johns County.

That total is down from the previous week when the state recorded 18 outbreaks of the flu.

“Even though we know that healthy people get the flu and stuff like that, the spread of the flu is what we’re concerned about,” said Dr. Lisa Chismark, president of the Wildflower Healthcare Clinic’s board of directors.

Chismark said getting the flu vaccine annually is the best way to avoid catching the virus.

“Well people say you may not get the flu, but that’s probably because so many people around you have gotten vaccinated,” she said.

News4Jax photojournalist Ciara Earrey began showing flu-like symptoms last week, so she dropped off a prescription for an antibiotic prescription at a pharmacy Tuesday. She said she was told it would be ready the next day, but the shipment of her medication was delayed until Friday.

News4Jax reached out to the pharmacy to see if the shipment delay was connected to a supply shortage, but there was no immediate response from the company.

"We’re all in this together and to have the healthiest community go out and get your flu shot," Chismark said.

To help more people get the vaccine, Wildflower Healthcare Clinic in St. Augustine is offering vaccinations to the community completely free of charge. You can get yours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 by stopping by the clinic.

Below are four things the clinic wants everyone to know:

  1. Everyone is susceptible to the flu, so your age does not matter.
  2. Vaccine shortages happen, so getting yours early is for the best.
  3. You’re not more likely to catch the flu if you’ve had the vaccine.
  4. Getting your flu shot will decrease your likelihood of missing work.

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