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Gloucester County Offering Free Flu Shots for 2012 Season

The county is distributing 17,500 doses of the vaccine this year.

Gloucester County will offer 17,500 free flu shots in 35 clinics throughout the county this fall, county officials announced Thursday.

The clinics, which begin Oct. 2 and run through Dec. 17, will take place in every community in the county, and come at no out-of-pocket cost.

“In today’s economy, getting a flu shot from the county can save your family a lot of money from lost days at work or school, co-pays or medications,” Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said in a release. “Our flu clinics run like clock-work and it is worth taking the time to get the vaccine.”

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine contains three strains: Influenza type A (H1N1), Influenza type A (H3N2) and Influenza type B (Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus).

Though some associate flu season with colder weather, freeholder Lyman Barnes, the liaison to the county's health department, said that's a misnomer.

“It’s important to get vaccinated early because it takes two weeks for the antibodies that provide protection against the influenza viruses to develop in the body,” Barnes said in the release. “Each year, the flu season is unpredictable, and the CDC recommends getting your flu shot as soon as it is available.”

Among the 35 clinics, five are set for weekends, 10 run after 4 p.m. and two are drive-thru affairs, with one of those earmarked specifically for those with disabilities.

Flu shots are administered by registered nurses and are available to Gloucester County residents only, and proof of residency is required. A flu shot hotline will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for residents to call with any questions about the flu shot or flu shot program at 856-218-4141.

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