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Healthy Monday: Seasonal flu shots now available
H1N1 vaccine will be in area later this year
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Flu shots
Seasonal flu shots currently are available at several area locations:
Publix: 3446 Winder Highway, Flowery Branch, 770-538-4276
Walgreens: 649 Shallowford Road SW, Gainesville, 678-450-8847; 3414 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, 770-287-8359
*Rite Aid: 599 South Enota Drive, Gainesville, 770-536-4361; 2925 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville, 770-532-2266; 3640 Mundy Mill Road, Gainesville, 770-532-9111
* Appointments required at Rite Aid locations

Seasonal flu shots will be available after Sept. 15 at the following locations:
The Longstreet Clinic: Businesses interested in having on-site flu shots should contact Lorrie Caruana at 770-533-6579
Hall County Health Department: Flu shots will be offered the week of Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Friday. After that week, shots will be offered at the same times until the supply is depleted

With the recent arrival of seasonal flu shots, now is the time to begin protecting yourself from H1N1, health officials say.

According to the District 2 Public Health officials, "although the vaccine for seasonal flu will not protect you from the H1N1 virus, it is still important to get your seasonal flu shot. Since the two viruses will be circulating at the same time this year, the seasonal flu shot can help prevent co-infection."

The Hall County Health Department will begin offering seasonal flu shots on Sept. 15, as well as The Longstreet Clinic.

"We expect to have all deliveries in to all the departments by Sept. 15. If patients have a relationship with a doctor here, they may want to go ahead and call their doctor because they may have it before then," said Jullie King, Longstreet human resources and community development director.

"If patients don’t have a relationship with a doctor here, but want a flu shot, Lorrie Caruana can administer them here."

When the flu shots are available for the general public, King says Longstreet staff will publicize a flu shot clinic schedule. King said businesses that would like to provide on-site flu shots for employees should go ahead and start contacting Caruana.

Several area pharmacies such as Walgreens, Rite Aid and Publix already have flu shots available. A prescription isn’t necessary to receive a shot at any location, but an appointment may be necessary at some. According to staff, Riverside Pharmacy expects to have flu shots available later this month.

The CDC recommends people who want to "reduce the risk of becoming ill with influenza or of transmitting influenza to others" get the seasonal flu vaccine. However, there are certain groups of people who are strongly encouraged to get the vaccination. Those people in the high risk groups include children from 6 months to 18 years old, residents or long-term care facilities, adults older than 50, health care personnel and caregivers.

The same groups of people are advised to get the H1N1 vaccination when it becomes available later this year.

The CDC estimates that about 200,000 U.S. hospitalizations and about 36,000 deaths are linked to the flu each year.