Health Department: It's not too late to get the flu shot

Doctors have blamed a cheap flu vaccine for Australia's horror sickness season which has claimed hundreds of lives

Traditional flu vaccines protect against three different strains of the flu: two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.

The Center of Disease Control recommends everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine, especially before the upcoming holiday season. Most insurance companies, including Medicare, will cover a flu shot, Oeding said, and the health department participates in Vaccines for Children, which provides the vaccine to uninsured or underinsured people 18 years of age and younger.

Of course, the more people protected, the better protected the community.

It's true that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine fluctuates from year to year and that it's less effective than other vaccines because flu viruses rapidly evolve.

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Uninsured individuals can expect to pay $25 for a regular dose flu shot and $55 for a high dose vaccine for those who are ages 65 or older.

The vaccine is also important for caregivers of and people who live with someone in a high-risk population.

Garvey says you can help yourself and everyone around you by not infecting them if you do get the flu. Flu symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

Australia's worst flu season on record has been blamed by doctors on a cheap vaccine. Colds, the CDC says, generally don't lead to serious complications or hospital stays, but the flu can if left untreated.

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