December 10, 2010

Public Health Officials Encourage Missourians to Get Vaccinated

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services wants you to know the flu vaccine is your best defense against the flu.

"The best way to fight the flu is to prevent it and people need to know it is not too late to protect themselves and their families by getting the vaccine." said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed the first case of seasonal flu in the state. The positive specimen came from Madison County.

"The timing of this case comes while we are observing National Influenza Vaccination Week. This just emphasizes the importance that people to get their flu shot," said Donnelly.

The flu vaccine is available at many locations throughout the state. Log onto to access the state's new flu vaccine locator and find a clinic near you.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot. We encourage you to get the vaccine as soon as it is available and it is never too late to be vaccinated.

Each year, the vaccine is developed based on the types of flu most likely to spread throughout communities in the coming year. This year's vaccine offers protection against three types of flu viruses, including the H1N1 virus.

In addition to getting a flu shot, other ways to prevent the spread of the flu include:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow - not your bare hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick, especially if you have a fever. Remain at home until 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

More information about the preventing the flu can be found at

Watch DHSS's Health Living Podcast concerning the flu and the flu vaccine.