The Jackson County Health Department is gearing up for flu season.

According to the CDC, getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year, said Amy Haskins, administrator, and sanitarian at the Jackson County Health Department.

The Jackson County Health Department will begin giving flu shots on Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and each weekday thereafter as long as vaccine is in stock, Haskins said.

"We have flu vaccine for all ages. It is important for everyone to bring their insurance cards with them. As long as vaccine is available, no one will be denied. No appointment is necessary, vaccines are first-come, first-serve," Haskins said.

You do not have to be insured to get the flu shot from the health department, Haskins said.

"If you are uninsured, you can come in and we will provide it through the state program," she said.

Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations, Haskins said.

"The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications," Haskins said.

The influenza season is unpredictable so it is important to get vaccinated before the season starts, Haskins said. It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated before the antibodies develop in the body and provide the necessary protection, she said.

Haskins said she has not heard any conjecture about how severe this year's flu season will be, but she noted it has been "fairly aggressive" in recent years.

It is recommended that people get the vaccine in October, she said.

The manufacturers of the flu vaccine do not anticipate any shortages.

For questions regarding this year’s flu vaccine, call the Jackson County Health Department at 304-372-2634.

It is not necessary to call ahead to get the flu vaccine, clients can do so if they wish.