Free flu shots offered in Knoxville

The 18th Annual Free Flu Shot Saturday will make free flu vaccinations available to the public this fall. Free flu shots will be given on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to noon (while supplies last) at six area schools: Austin-East Magnet High School, Farragut Intermediate School, Halls High School, West High School, South-Doyle Middle School and Carter High School.

Free Flu Shot Saturday is open to all, ages 4 and older. Donations to benefit the Empty Stocking Fund are accepted but are not required to receive the vaccine. Free Flu Shot Saturday not only reduces the impact of influenza on the community, it is the biggest annual fundraiser for the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund, a charity providing 3,600 food baskets and toys to the community’s underprivileged during the holiday season. This year the Empty Stocking Fund is celebrating 100 years of giving to East Tennesseans in need.

The primary sponsor of the News Sentinel Free Flu Shot Saturday is BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, along with donation and aid from Summit Medical Group and the Knoxville-area Rotary Clubs.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2012-2013 influenza season. Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January and February.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will protect against H1N1, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus). The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

For more information call 865-342-6870 or visit


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