COLUMBIA - This flu season is serious, and cost should not keep you from getting a flu shot.
Many health care providers, pharmacies and community organizations offer low- or no-cost flu shots. Most insurance plans cover at least part of the cost.
In response to the crisis, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is waiving administrative fees that some pay for a flu shot at its public health clinics. In any case, cost will not be a barrier to flu vaccines offered in DHEC clinics.
Residents can make an appointment at a DHEC public health clinic to receive the flu vaccine by calling 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432). Locations of DHEC public health clinics can be found at scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics. Clinic hours and the availability of the vaccine vary by location.
"The flu shot is the best protection against the flu. It is extremely important for those who have not gotten their flu shot to be vaccinated now," said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant.
In addition to the flu shot, be sure to wash your hands often and avoid contact with sick people. If you become sick with the flu, avoid contact with others.
• It is not too late to get a flu shot.
• It takes about two weeks for the body to build up protection after getting the flu vaccine, so the sooner you get the vaccine, the better.
• The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines contain virus strains that are not active and cannot produce disease.
S.C. flu statistics
• Influenza cases: 59,425
• Flu-associated deaths: 84.
• Influenza-associated hospitalizations: 2,365