Flu vaccinations for those considered high risk according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines will begin Monday in the 10 counties of the South Health District.

County health departments including Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Lanier and Lowndes counties received a small supply of vaccines. Only those persons in high-risk groups will be vaccinated.

"We are urging healthy citizens to forgo their vaccination this year," said Lynne D. Feldman, MD, MPH, district public health director. "We are going to ensure that our health departments strictly adhere to the guidelines set by CDC for those who are at risk and in need of the flu vaccine. This is a difficult situation for our entire nation, and we are doing the best that we can to protect our local communities."

The guidelines CDC announced for high-risk groups that should receive a flu vaccine:

All children aged 6-23 months,

Adults aged 65 years and older,

Persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions,

All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season,

Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities,

Children 6 months to 18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy,

Health-care workers with direct patient care, and

Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged less than 6 months.

Check with your local medical care provider first for flu vaccine. Some community health care providers have small amounts on hand. Clinics at the local health departments will begin in each of the county health departments Monday on a first-come, first-served basis for those meet criteria. Shots will be $20 each, and Medicaid/Medicare will be accepted.

Appointments will not be necessary. For health department hours call the local health department or South Health District headquarters at 229-333-5290 or 866-801-5360.

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