MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - The Mississippi Department of Health announced that pediatric flu shots are now available for everyone 18 years of age and younger at all MSDH county health department clinics.
Certain high-risk adults who lack health insurance or who are under insured can also receive their flu shots at county clinics, according to MSDH.
Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for anyone age six months and older.
Flu activity in Mississippi has been seen earlier than usual this year, according to MSDH.
MSDH is urging people to get their flu shots now since the vaccine can take up to two weeks to produce maximum immunity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get their flu shot by the end of October for protection throughout the flu season.
All Mississippians six months and older should be vaccinated against seasonal flu.
Those particularly at risk for influenza complications include young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses, according to the CDC.
It's important for children as well as adults to receive the flu vaccine each season, especially children with underlying medical problems such as neuro-developmental disorders, among others.
During the 2016-2017 influenza season, two children in Mississippi died from the flu, according to MSDH.
Nationwide, there are up to 200,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year caused by the flu.
Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive flu vaccination for $10. Insurance, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children's flu shots.
While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently.