Start preparing yourself for the coming flu season with the help of the Alachua County Health Department, which began offering flu vaccines Tuesday.

Shots are available at the health department’s main clinic, 224 SE 24th St., and the City of Alachua satellite clinic, located in the Hitchcock’s shopping plaza on U.S. Highway 441.

“The current vaccine protects the major circulation strains of the flu,” said Roger Dolz, a health department administrator.

At the main site, walk-ins are accepted Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Alachua location is by appointment only, and appointments can be scheduled by calling 386-462-2542.

Most insurance companies cover the cost of the vaccine, Dolz said. Out of pocket, a patient will pay $25.

The department runs Control Flu, a program that collaborates with schools to distribute free Flu Mist vaccinations to students who have consent forms, Dolz said.

For the first time, the department reached out to UF’s campus to offer Flu Mist vaccinations to college students.

In response, GatorWell partnered with the health department to administer the mist to interested students.

Students will have to bring photo identification, and they will need their insurance cards if they want to receive the mist for free. 

Department representatives will be at Springs Residential Complex on Oct. 28 and Jennings Hall on Oct. 30 to distribute the vaccines.

The Student Health Care Center started offering UF students traditional flu shots Oct. 3, according to the center’s spokeswoman, Catherine Seemann.

The center and its outreach clinics combined administer about 500 shots a day, Seemann said, which amounts to more than 4,000 vaccines distributed so far.

“We have the shipments, and we will stop giving them out when we run out,” she said.

About 50 percent of the flu shot shipments have been used, she said, and the center will likely not order more flu shots after they’re gone.

If demand is high in November, Seemann said a new shipment may be considered.

[A version of this story ran on page 11 on 10/17/2014]

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