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Free flu shots this Saturday

The 17th Annual Free Flu Shot Saturday will make free flu vaccinations available to the public this fall.

Free flu shots will be given from 8 a.m. to noon (while supplies last), Saturday, Sept. 24, at six area schools: Austin-East Magnet High School, Farragut High School, Halls High School, West High School, South Doyle Middle School and Carter High School.

Free Flu Shot Saturday is open to all, ages 4 and older.

The primary sponsor of Free Flu Shot Saturday is BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, along with donation and aid from Summit Medical Group, Mercy Health Partners and the Knoxville-area Rotary Clubs.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2011-2012 influenza season. Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against H1N1, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus). The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientistsí estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.


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