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ECHA officials: Get your flu shot

Escambia County Healthcare Authority officials are urging citizens to get the influenza (Flu) shot.

Medical clinics in Atmore, Brewton and Flomaton are available to administer the vaccine.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect this year’s flu season to be very different than in years past,” Ashley Strawbridge, manager of Atmore Community Hospital, Patient Safety and Employee Health, said. “People will go to the doctor or emergency room thinking they have the flu and may actually have COVID or it may be the other way around. That’s why this year it is especially important to go ahead and get your flu shot.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the flu vaccine is safe. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received the flu vaccine over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of seasonal flu vaccines. Each year, CDC works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

Officials said it is best to get vaccinated before the flu begins to spread. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely it is that you will be protected once flu begins to circulate in our communities.

When asked about why people who do not like getting shots should get the flu, Strawbridge said, “The minor pain of a flu shot is nothing compared to the suffering that may be caused by the flu.”

A flu vaccine reduces a risk of illness, hospitalization and can prevent citizens from spreading the virus to loved ones, according to a release.

Flu shots are available at ACH Family Physicians, ACH Med Plus, ACH Primary Care, D.W. McMillan After Hours Clinic, Medical Center and Primary Care and Flomaton Medical Center.