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James Shirley rolls up his sleeve for flu season

Don’t even bother to ask James Shirley of Troy if he has taken the flu shot. That would be a no-brainer.

Shirley has been taking the flu shot since he enrolled in college in 2003. That was 21 years ago and, in all those years, Shirley has had the flu only one time.

“And, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Shirley said. “The flu shot is my best shot at not get-ting the flu. I started taking the flu shot when I was in college because I didn’t want to miss any classes, but, most of all, I didn’t want to be sick and, too, I didn’t want to get the flu and spread it to others.”

Shirley said the one time he had the flu, he went to urgent care and took Theraflu.

“I don’t want the flu ever again,” he said, adding that it’s up to each individual to do all he or she can to stay well, for themselves and for others.

“Every year, I take the flu shot at the beginning of flu season and also take vitamins to help me stay well,” he said.

Shirley was among the first to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available and, if the booster shot were available today, he would be in line with his sleeve rolled up.

“If there’s a shot that will help me not be sick, I will take it,” he said. “I want to stay well and a shot in the arm is the best way I know how.”

Last year’s flu season was not as bad as in year’s past and contributing reasons include the COVID-19 masking and social distancing mandates.

“I’m fully vaccinate for COVID-19; I wear a mask wherever I go and I keep social distance,” Shirley said. “That’s what I can do to protect myself from the coronavirus. I had my flu shot two weeks ago, so I’m fully vaccinated for the flu. That’s what I can do to protect myself. I encourage everyone to get the flu shot. It’s the best protection we can get and, with so many things opening up now and football season and holidays, too, people will be getting together. If we can stay away from the flu and COVID-19, fall will be a better time for all of us.”

Most insurances will pay for flu shots and, if not, the cost at a doctor’s office is not much more than a burger and fries.

“Be safe and stay well,” Shirley said. “Take the flu shot. It only stings a little.”