TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Florida Health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated this season.
With the flu season in full swing, officials said that it's critical that all Floridians get the flu vaccine to protect themselves and prevent spreading illness to others.
While most time the flu is mild, the Florida Department of Health said that they have confirmed the first two influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2016-2017 flu season in a 7 year-old and a 17 year-old.
“We are saddened by this news and our thoughts are with the family and friends of these children,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “Although most people view the flu as a minimal threat, Floridians should take flu infection seriously as it can cause severe illness, even death, in some cases."
They said that the annual flu vaccine is safe and is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu.
The flu vaccine is offered in many convenient locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, health centers and by many employers and schools.
Visit the department’s flu shot locator page to search for a flu vaccine location near you.
For further information regarding influenza surveillance information, messaging and guidance, visit the influenza homepage at http://www.floridahealth.gov/floridaflu.