Protect yourself, others and help reduce strain on health care systems
GALVESTON COUNTY – Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever to protect yourself and those around
you from flu, and to help reduce the burden on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You should get the flu vaccine before the virus begins spreading in the community. It takes about two weeks after
vaccination for antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the body,” said Eileen Dawley, RN, Galveston County
Health District (GCHD) chief nursing officer. “We suggest getting the vaccine before the end of October, especially with
the current COVID-19 pandemic, but getting the vaccine later is still beneficial.”
Children who need two doses of vaccine to protect against the flu should start the vaccination process sooner as the two
doses must be given at least four weeks apart. People 6 months and older should be vaccinated for the flu. Vaccination
is especially important for certain high-risk groups including those age 65 and older, pregnant women, young children
and those with chronic health conditions who are at higher risk for complications or even death if they get the flu.
Vaccination is also important for health care workers and others who live with or care for high risk people to keep from
spreading the flu to them.
“The flu vaccine this year is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dawley said. “It is likely we’ll see flu
viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 both spreading this fall and winter. We may see people with the flu, in
addition to other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. We just don’t know how common that may be.”
Some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, which can make it hard to tell the difference between the two. Flu-like
symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some
people, especially children, may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may also be infected with flu and have respiratory
symptoms without a fever. Diagnostic testing can help determine if someone is sick with the flu or COVID-19.
While the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it does help reduce flu illness and flu-related hospitalizations.
Flu vaccinations can reduce doctor visits, missed days at work and missed days at school. Getting a flu vaccine not only
reduces your risk from flu, it also to helps save potentially scarce health care resources.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
Wear a face cover to slow the spread.
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Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Stay home if you are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue away after use and wash
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Avoid contact with those who are sick.
While the flu spreads every year, the timing and length of the season varies from one year to another, as do the flu
viruses that will circulate. There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. Composition of the U.S.
flu vaccines is reviewed annually as needed to match circulating flu viruses.
“Despite what you may have heard, the flu vaccine does not cause flu illness. The viruses in the flu shot are inactivated,
meaning they are dead. They cannot cause an infection,” Dawley said. “What the flu vaccine can do is keep you and your
loved ones protected.”
The flu vaccine is currently available at the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) Immunization Clinic, 9850-B Emmett
F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. Appointments are required and clinic hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with
extended hours on Tuesday to 7 p.m. Flu shots are $34 each. Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield, cash, check, debit and
credit cards are accepted. For more information and to make an appointment, call 409.949.3459.
The flu vaccine is also available at Coastal Health & Wellness for established patients. To make an appointment, please
The flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is
different, and flu infection can affect people differently. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but flu
activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February,
although activity can last as late as May.
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The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is the local public health agency for Galveston County, Texas.
GCHD provides services and programs that protect the everyday health and well-being of Galveston County.
P.O. Box 939 La Marque, Texas 77568 • (409) 938-7221