"It is because we know certain populations, when they get the flu infection, are much more likely to have more severe symptoms, be hospitalized and unfortunately die. These populations are senior citizens and young children, people who have chronic medical illness - like lung or liver disorders, diabetes, obesity and other things," Gupta said.
"Also, women who may be pregnant or planning to be pregnant or people with suppressed immunity because of HIV or cancer treatments."
Health care personnel are also recommended to receive the flu shot because of the close proximity to sick populations.
Gupta noted that this does not protect against all illness - just those strains of the flu.
"People need to understand this doesn't protect against regular coughs and colds. It's not coughs and colds that kill people, it's the flu that kills people," he said.
"The flu is when you feel like you've been hit by a truck. They're really sick and pretty much bedridden. This is different from the 200 odd viruses during the winter season. We all get that upper respiratory cough and cold kind of symptom. We must differentiate the flu from the common cold - it's much more severe and devastating compared to the common cold."
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will be entering Kanawha County schools for the fifth year in a row to conduct flu clinics for more than 30,000 kids starting next week.
Gupta said no child will be denied a flu shot because of the ability to pay. Packets containing consent forms are being distributed this week.
"A lot of the flu is spread through kids; they bring it home - especially younger kids," he said. "From statistic we have, since we started doing the flu clinics, we have reduced absenteeism in schools by over 40 percent. So it's a lot of benefit to the community."
Gupta said they also plan to visit businesses that are interested in having their employees have the opportunity to get the vaccination.