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RICHMOND, Va. (WVVA) – The Virginia Department of Health encourages all Virginians age 6 months and older who haven’t received their annual influenza vaccine to get one now.

See WVVA’s six tips to stay healthy during flu season.

State health officials gathered Friday, November 22, to highlight the importance of the vaccine and to receive a flu shot themselves.

“As a physician, I applaud all Virginians who have already received their flu vaccine and encourage those who haven’t to make time to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Daniel Carey, M.D. “It’s not too late to vaccinate against this serious illness. Protecting yourselves, your family and your community against the flu starts with getting vaccinated.”

State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A., echoed Secretary Carey’s advice. “Getting vaccinated is important since even mild cases of influenza can lead to lost time at work or with friends and family,” Dr. Oliver said. “Hopefully most Virginians have already been vaccinated, but now is still a great time to get your flu shot – before the winter holidays when we gather with friends and family.”

“I encourage all Richmonders to heed the advice of health care professionals about getting vaccinated,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “Getting a flu shot is a quick and easy way to maintain health and wellness during the winter months. Vaccination shots are available from most health care providers, and at many pharmacies and grocery stores right here in Richmond and across the Commonwealth.”

At the Richmond Ambulance Authority, CEO Chip Decker said they stress personal health and wellness among their team of emergency medical personnel. “That includes receiving an annual flu shot,” Decker said. “Our emergency medical technicians are deployed throughout the city to rapidly respond to more than 50,000 calls for service each year. And because our work often involves interacting with people experiencing emergent health challenges, it is vital for our team members to be healthy so they can respond to community health needs.”