ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – According to the CDC, flu season is coming early compared to last year. Texas is one of six states reporting high cases of influenza like illness. Health professionals across the state are pushing to get people vaccinated for the flu by early November.

Dr. Gary Goodnight, Medical Director and Health Authority for Abilene Taylor County Public Health District, said Texas hospitals tested 5,600 people for the flu so far. With a nine percent positivity rate, many are testing positive for Affluenza A variants of H2 and H3.

“The variant is in the new vaccine–so this year they seemingly picked the correct variant so hopefully flu vaccines are going to be more helpful and keeping people from getting extra sick especially hospitalizations,” said Goodnight.

Director of Nursing for the Abilene Taylor County Public Health District is pushing for Texas to get vaccinated. Texas has a low vaccination rate and a high college student population who travels frequently, increasing the risk of catching the flu.

When you get your flu vaccine is equally important. Getting vaccinated before Thanksgiving ensures you are protected before peak flu season.

“It helps our body to build immunities that protects us throughout the flu season. It’s kind of like a soldier preparing to go into battle. You want to build those immunities before your body is it,” said Waller.

Texans are eligible to receive free flu vaccines from their local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. Just bring your insurance information if you have it.