BURLINGTON - It's not too early to get a flu shot, and vaccine is now widely available around the state in health care provider offices, pharmacies and public clinics.

Go to www.healthvermont.gov to find a flu vaccine clinic.

The Vermont Department of Health recommends that nearly everyone age 6 months and older protect themselves against the highly contagious influenza virus - especially people who have chronic conditions such as asthma that put them at risk of serious consequences.

Forty-two percent of adult Vermonters had a chronic condition in 2010, and only half of them received an annual flu vaccine.

"Infection with influenza can have serious consequences for anyone with the virus, but especially those with chronic disease," said Chris Finley, immunization program chief for the Health Department. "Because flu is unpredictable and we never know when it will arrive each season - and how severe it will be - a flu shot is the best protection."

One in 10 Vermont children had asthma, and approximately 11 percent of the adult population.

Of those Vermonters with asthma in 2010, 46 percent adults and 27 percent of children did not get their annual flu shot in 2010, according to survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

For more information regarding influenza and chronic diseases visit http://www.cdc.gov/ flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.