Local, state officials receive flu shot in Elizabethton

Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett and State Congressmen John Holsclaw and Rusty Crowe gathered at the Carter County Health Department Wednesday morning to receive their flu shot for the season.

The state Department of Health commissioner Lisa Piercey administered the shots to raise awareness of how important the flu shot actually is.

“It is one of the issues we need to address upstream,” Piercey said.

The flu affects thousands of people each year, and though the healthiest members of the community may not recognize it, officials said the flu’s severity can be damaging to more vulnerable people.

“The shot is as much about protecting those who cannot receive it as it is about protecting the people who can,” Carter County Health Department Director Caroline Chinouth Hurt said. “For this community, we are heading into the holidays with traveling. It is a heightened opportunity to spread germs.”

She said it was great seeing state politicians “walking the talk” with their leadership.

“We are really proud of [Piercey]’s approach,” Crowe said.

Piercey said most people who get the flu shot do not get the flu, but those who still get the flu anyway often have lesser symptoms and downtime as a result of the shot.

“We can protect our little babies and elderly folks,” Hurt said. “The flu can really put us in bed for a while.”

Crowe and Holsclaw said the flu shot is vital to promoting healthier lives in Carter County.

“The vaccine is the most effective method to protect individuals from it and the related complications,” they said in a release. “We want to raise awareness of this fact as the flu season begins and urge local citizens to protect themselves and others by getting the vaccine.”

As part of this push to encourage people to receive the shot, the health department will have free flu shots on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. at 403 East G St.

“The flu season can last up to six months,” Piercey said. “Now is the time.”

For more information about flu shots or the necessity of them, contact the health department at 423-543-2521.

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