Knox County Tennessee

Flu vaccination FAQs

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The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Annual flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into January and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January or February and can last until May.

Where can I get a vaccination?

Flu vaccines will also be offered at KCHD's Main and West clinic locations. For adult flu vaccines, individuals may call the Main clinic located at 140 Dameron Ave. at 865-215-5070 or the West clinic located at 1028 Old Cedar Bluff Road. at 865-215-5950 to schedule an appointment. For pediatric flu vaccines, individuals may call the West clinic at 865-215-5950 to schedule an appointment.

Flu vaccinations are also widely available in the community at medical providers and many pharmacies.

Why should I get a flu vaccination?

Annual vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu. 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 each year. Between 2010 and 2018, CDC estimates the yearly flu-associated deaths in the U.S. ranged from 12,000 to 79,000.

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 up to four different strains of influenza.

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. More information can be found on the CDC’s website here.

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.

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

This can happen for several reasons:

  • The flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming season. There are dozens of strains of influenza, so it's possible to get the vaccine and still get exposed to a strain that's not in the vaccine.
  • In addition, no vaccine is 100% effective, but the influenza vaccine is still the best tool we have to prevent the flu.
  • And finally, the vaccine takes two weeks to be fully effective. It’s possible to get the flu during this time if exposed, which is why it’s recommended to get vaccinated in September or as soon as the vaccine is available.

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.

What’s the best way to fight the flu?

The four most important steps in fighting the flu are:

  1. Wash your hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
  2. Cover your cough/sneeze,
  3. Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home when they are, and
  4. Get vaccinated.

Click here for more information 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, 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:
  • October 18, 2023
  • January 17, 2024
  • April 17,2024
  • July 17, 2024

*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

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