WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — With school back in session, summer coming to a close and fall weather on the way, flu season is right around the corner.

With this turn of the seasons, health experts in the North Country are again reminding adults and children to receive their annual flu vaccinations. However this fall, experts are especially emphasizing the vaccine as COVID-19 continues to be present in the communities.

Additionally, compared to last year, there were very few cases of the flu confirmed in the North Country as residents practiced precautions such as increased hand washing, social distancing.

” We didn’t see as much flu last year because of people engaging in safe practices to spread the help of communicable diseases,” Kinney Drugs Pharmacist Ruth Ellen Van Arman said.

But because the flu is likely to return to the North Country this fall, Van Arman urged residents to not wait to get the shot. She emphasized the importance of getting the vaccine earlier in the season.

“It’s important to get it earlier in the season so that you’re protected for when it hits because it does take about two weeks to gain immunity. Van Arman expressed. “So if you wait until the flu starts becoming rampant, you run a risk of still contracting the flu before your immunity kicks in.”

Although the flu is common, it can cause severe symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion. However it has the be dangerous, or even deadly when combined with other viruses, or for those in high-risk groups.

“With all of the viruses and certainly with COVID-19 going around, it is important to get your immunization because if you become sick with one virus, it makes your immune system decrease because it’s fighting that virus,” Van Arman warned. “It makes you much more prone to come down with something else which can cause complications.”

She concluded by saying, if not for yourself, “get the shot for those who can’t.”

Flu shots are now in stock at all Kinney Drug locations across the North Country for all eligible age groups. Kinney’s is also offering additional vaccines at all locations across the North Country. This includes vaccinations for meningitis, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus and coronavirus.

To reserve a vaccine, visit the Kinney Drugs website. Appointments are not required, but are encouraged.