By Linda Looney-Bond
The Clayton County Board of Health will begin offering seasonal flu shots today, at its Comprehensive Health Facility, located at 1117 Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro.
The flu vaccine will be available through Oct. 2 for a fee of $20, according to Veronda Griffin, public information officer for the Clayton County Board of Health. Cash, checks with proper identification, credit cards, debit cards, Medicaid and Medicare-Part B will be accepted, she said.
The vaccines will be available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m., to 4 p.m., according to Griffin.
"We encourage everyone who is in a high-risk group to receive the seasonal flu vaccine," said Dr. Alpha Fowler Bryan, district health director for the Clayton County Board of Health. "We know that the very young, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions are the ones who are most at risk of developing serious complications from the flu."
Seasonal flu is a highly contagious virus that is spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, Griffin said in a statement.
She said a vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus - commonly known as the swine flu - is not yet available.
"There are still clinical trials going on," Griffin said Friday. "We still don't know when we will have the vaccine. The last information that we got was [by] mid-October, but we don't know ... until it's released, and we get authorization from federal health officials to use it," she said.
According to health officials, people can reduce their chances of getting the flu through proper personal hygiene practices, such as washing hands regularly with soap and warm water, or using alcohol-based sanitizers, Griffin said.
"Don't attend school or work when you are ill, or rub your eyes or nose," Griffin said. "Also, with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, cover your mouth when you cough, and your nose when you sneeze."
For more information, contact the Clayton County Board of Health at (678) 610-7199 ext. 6522.