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Health dept. encourages everyone to get flu shot as flu season approaches

(MGN Online)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- The Virginia Department of Health is encouraging all people in Virginia older than six months to get the flu shot.

The start of 2017-2018 flu season is approaching.

State and local health leaders joined together for an event in Richmond Wednesday to highlight the importance of the vaccine, especially for health care workers and to receive a flu shot themselves.

“Preventive actions are a key part of Virginia’s Plan for Well-Being, and influenza, unlike many other respiratory illnesses, is vaccine-preventable for every person over six months of age,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “Getting an annual flu vaccination protects not only ourselves but also our family, neighbors, coworkers and, as healthcare workers, our patients. This is an important way of building healthy connected communities.”

Flu season begins in early October and ends in late May.

Health officials say you should get the flu vaccine soon after the vaccine becomes available because while the seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons flu activity peaks in January or later.

A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.

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