Knox County Tennessee

Help protect yourself and the ones you love from the flu.

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To help further protect the community from influenza, the Knox County Health Department is offering free flu vaccinations to Knox County residents while supplies last.
If you haven't already, please take the time to get a flu vaccine to help protect yourself, and those around you who may be at high risk for complications.
Even though one strain in the vaccine is slightly different from what’s currently circulating, we still recommend vaccination. It will provide protection from the other strains in the vaccine and can reduce the severity and duration of illness if you get sick, even preventing some flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Those interested can receive free flu vaccinations at any of our three locations (see the sidebar on the right for locations, hours and contact information).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promotes the importance of flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. Annual vaccination remains the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu.


What’s the big deal?

For many people, the flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. For others, it means hospitalization and even death. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. from flu complications every year. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, CDC estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the U.S. range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people during the most severe season.


How do you get the flu?

Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. On average, we touch our faces three to 16 times per hour! This is why frequent and thorough hand washing is so important.


It’s not too late to get vaccinated?

Absolutely not. The CDC recommends vaccination as long as flu viruses are still circulating. Flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, but usually peak between December and February, and can last as late as May.


How long does the vaccine take to work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection from the viruses that are in the vaccine.


I had the vaccine in the past and still got the flu. Why is that?

The flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. In addition, there are also vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus. There are dozens of strains of influenza viruses, so it’s possible to get the vaccine and still get exposed to a strain that’s not in the vaccine.


The CDC announced in early December that this would be a bad flu season. Why?

It’s for two reasons: The first is that the majority of flu samples tested so far this year are H3N2 viruses, and we tend to have higher hospitalizations and deaths when this virus is dominant. The second reason is that half of the flu samples tested so far in the U.S. are poorly matched to the vaccine that was prepared for this flu season. Unfortunately, the virus has changed since the vaccine was formulated earlier this year.


Should I still get vaccinated?

Yes, vaccination still remains the single most effective means of protection. The flu vaccine has never been a guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it’s the best protection we have from a virus that still kills thousands of people every year. This year’s vaccine should still provide partial protection against the H3N2 viruses and will better protect against the other non-mutated viruses that are circulating, including Influenza B viruses.


Who should get vaccinated?

Anyone over 6 months of age, but vaccination is especially important for those in high risk groups, such as pregnant women, adults over 65, young children and those with chronic conditions. Remember, getting a flu vaccine helps protect not only yourself, but also those around you because it decreases the risk of you spreading the illness to them.


Who should not be vaccinated?

Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a person's suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person's age, health (current and past) and any relevant allergies, including an egg allergy.

More information on who should not receive the vaccine can be found on the CDC’s website here.


What should I do if I get the flu?   

Those in high risk groups (adults over 65, those with chronic conditions, young children and pregnant women) should talk with their doctor. He or she may prescribe antiviral medication, which can lessen symptoms and shorten your sick time. Antivirals may also prevent serious complications. It's important to get antiviral medicines quickly because they work best when started within two days of the beginning of symptoms. And remember, please stay home, away from friends, family and loved ones if you’re sick.


Besides vaccination, what else can I do to protect myself from the flu?

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  2. Cover your cough and sneeze
  3. Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  4. Stay  home if you are sick and keep your children home from school or daycare if they’re sick


Where can I get a vaccination?

Flu vaccinations are available at most pharmacies, doctor’s offices and the Knox County Health Department (KCHD). While supplies last, free vaccines are available at any KCHD location (see the sidebar on the right for directions to our offices).
Click here for more information on the CDC’s website about influenza and vaccination.
Have more questions? Email us at

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Knox County Tennessee - Health Department

Main Clinic
140 Dameron Ave,
Knoxville, TN 37917

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Please Note:

On the first Wednesday of every month (except August), all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.
Clinics will also open at 10 a.m. (Main location), and 10:30 a.m. (West Clinic) on the following Wednesdays:
  • January 18
  • April 19
  • July 19
  • September 20

*All other offices will open at 8 a.m.

Infant and childhood immunizations as well as adult vaccines by appointment ONLY. Please call 865-215-5950.

1028 Old Cedar Bluff
Knoxville, TN 37923

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Clinics will also open at 10 a.m. (Main location), and 10:30 a.m. (West Clinic) on the following Wednesdays:
  • January 18
  • April 19
  • July 19
  • September 20

Map Of All Clinics
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