The flu shot is your first defense in fighting the flu, an epidemic that is taking over our area and many parts of the United States.
FLU SHOT FACTS
The flu shot is considered a safe vaccine that works by helping the body to develop antibodies that help protect against infections with the viruses that are in the vaccine, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found this year's vaccine to be 62-percent effective overall and about 55-percent effective against the most common strain. Still, the agency recommends everyone six months or older get vaccinated.
Generally, the vaccine takes about two weeks to start protecting you against the virus, says the CDC. The vaccine will last for one flu season.
You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. The CDC says either dead flu virus or weakened virus is used in the vaccine. Though, those who get the flu shot can experience side effects including soreness, redness and swelling of the injection site, headaches, fever and nausea.
FIND THE FLU SHOT
Here's where you can get the flu shot for free in Philadelphia.
You can also grab a free flu shot on Friday, January 18, 2013 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 310 West Chelten Avenue.
In New Jersey:
- Stillwater Building in Northfield from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Hammonton Human Services Building at 310 Bellevue Avenue in Hammonton from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays. It costs $15 or free for people with Medicaid Part B
Cape May County
- Department of Health Building at 6 Moore Road in Cape May Court House on Fridays from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. while supplies last. The shot is free.
- Health Department Northern Site at 1771 Madison Avenue in Lakewood on Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. until noon and 5 to 7 p.m. $20 or free for Medicaid Part B.
- January 16 - Cherry Hill Municipal Building, 820 Mercer Street, Cherry Hill 9:00 a.m. till noon
- January 17 – Camden City Hall, 520 Market Street, 9:00 a.m. till noon
- January 18 – Gloucester Township Municipal Building, 1261 Chews Landing Rd., Blackwood 9:00 a.m. till noon
- January 23 – Stratford Senior/Community Center, 302 Union Ave. Stratford, 9:00 a.m. till noon
- January 28 - Bellmawr Regional Health Center, 35 Browning Road, Bellmawr 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Flu Vaccine Finder:
You can also use HealthMap's Flu Vaccine Finder to learn about locations in your neighborhood that offer the flu shot. Enter you zip code below and hit GO to start your search. It's best to call ahead to flu shot providers before visiting as some may temporarily run out of the vaccine.