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Flu shots available in Rockdale, Newton

CONYERS — With flu season right around the corner, the Newton and Rockdale county Health Departments are encouraging residents to get their flu shots at health centers in Covington and Conyers.

According to Connie Russell, district program director for the Gwinnett, Rockdale, Newton County Health Departments, this year’s flu vaccine addresses the same three strains of flu virus as last year’s vaccine.

However, Russell said that anyone who had a flu shot last year should not expect it to provide protection this year.

“The Centers for Disease Control recommendation is that even if someone had a shot last year, that they have a shot this year as well because the immune response declines over time,” Russell said.

Flu shots at the Newton and Rockdale health departments are available for $25 to everyone 6 months of age or older. Both the nasal and injectable forms of the vaccine are available. The health departments accept cash and credit cards (no American Express), and will bill Medicaid, Medicare Part B and some private insurance companies. Appointments are not required.

According to the CDC, flu can occur at any time, but most flu cases are seen from October through May. Rates of infection are highest among children. Flu symptoms typically last a few days and include fever and chills; cough; sore throat; headache; muscle aches; runny or stuffy nose; and fatigue. Symptoms can be more serious in young children and those 65 or older, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system. It can take up to two weeks for protection from the virus to develop after the vaccination, according to the CDC.

The health department is also recommending pneumonia shots for people age 65 or older or anyone with a chronic illness or weakened immune system. The shot will help protect against pneumonia, which is sometimes a serious complication of the flu.

The Rockdale County Health Center is located at 985 Taylor St. S.W., in Conyers. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. For more information call 770-785-4345.

The Newton County Health Center is located at 8203 Hazelbrand Road in

Covington. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday. For more information, call 770-786-9086.