The strain of flu causing the most illness in Middle Tennessee is the same virus that killed hundreds in 2009.
So far, the H1N1 strain of influenza has killed as many as 12 people in Nashville and the surrounding areas.
Joey Smith, Director of Public Health for Montgomery County told News 2 that the flu normally affects the most people this time of year, but this flu season is different.
“Every year we have deaths from the flu,” he said. “The age of the folks that's being reported to us or has shown up, that is something that's different from previous years.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people 50-64 and 65 and over are the age groups being admitted to hospitals more than others.
Smith said the H1N1 strain is covered by this year's flu vaccine.
“From all of the reports that we've had, this vaccine has been targeting what has been hitting us,” he said, adding, “Most of the deaths that we've been seeing could have definitely been prevented.”
A spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Public Health told News 2 that some county health departments are beginning to give away flu vaccinations on a first come-first serve basis.
In Davidson County, residents can receive flu vaccinations at all three Metro Public Health Clinics on a walk-in basis.
The flu shots are available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Friday.
- Jan. 9, 2014: Family urges everyone receive flu shot after girl's death
- Jan. 8, 2014: 10 dead in Middle Tennessee from flu