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Good News Clinic receives grant funds for flu shots
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Gainesville’s Good News Clinic got a little good news of its own on Tuesday in the form of a $5,000 grant to purchase and administer adult flu vaccines.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of Chestnut Mountain joined officials from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to present 10 clinics across the state with a total of $50,000 in grant funding for the vaccination program, which covers both flu and pneumonia vaccines.

"I commend Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia for their generosity and desire to see that more Georgians have access to these needed vaccinations," Cagle said at a news conference at the Capitol. "It is a priority of mine to ensure that those in our state who are unable to afford basic health care have a way to meet their needs."

Cheryl Christian, executive director of the Good News Clinic, said the fund will provide 360 people with the needed vaccination for the flu.

"We had a bill for $6,000 for flu vaccine, so this almost covers it," she said.

Christian said Cagle, who represented Hall County for 12 years as a state senator, has embraced the state’s free clinics.

"It means a lot to have a champion for our cause in the lieutenant governor," Christian said. "He’s somebody who
really cares about people and will get his staff to work on something like this donation."

In addition to the Good News Clinic, others receiving $5,000 toward vaccines were The Samaritan Clinic in Albany, Mercy Health Center in Athens, Coastal Medical Access Project/Goodwin Community Health Center in Brunswick, Good Samaritan Clinic in Greensboro, Macon Volunteer Clinic in Macon, Compassionate Care Clinic in Milledgeville, the Good Shepherd Clinic in Morrow, Hands of Hope in Stockbridge and the Houston County Volunteer Medical Clinic in Warner Robins.

Currently, Georgia ranks 44th and 39th for adult flu and pneumonia vaccinations. This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week and the Georgia
Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health reminds people that it is not too late to get vaccinated to protect against seasonal flu. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that hospitalizes more than 200,000 people each year and about 36,000 die from it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals who want to reduce their risk of catching the flu be vaccinated each year. People who are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications, such as those over the age of 50, young children and persons with certain health conditions, should get an annual flu vaccine.

Flu season typically peaks in Georgia around January or February. Therefore, getting vaccinated in late November or December can still offer protection against seasonal flu. The vaccine begins protecting against influenza about two weeks after it has been administered. Also, most flu shots contain inactivated virus and cannot make individuals sick.