(Ithaca, NY – September 17, 2014) – Now’s the time to get a flu vaccination. There are many opportunities in the community for flu vaccination including health care provider offices, pharmacies, and the Tompkins County Health Department. Everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated every year against the flu.

Flu vaccination is the best protection against the flu – it protects you and limits the spread of flu to others. These include infants under the age of 6 months who are too young to be immunized and those who are immunocompromised such as people who are receiving cancer treatment.

Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is providing flu vaccinations for adults 19 years of age and above at its location at 55 Brown Road – across from the airport. There is plenty of free parking. For your convenience, appointments are necessary for all clinics. Call the Health Department at 607-274-6616. Fu shots will be available beginning, September 23. Flu shots will also be available by appointment on Tuesday, October 7 at Lifelong, 119 West Court Street.

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of an annual flu shot. At the Health Department, there are no out-of-pocket costs if you have one of the following health insurance plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, Total Care, Fidelis, Medicare Part B and Medicare Managed Plans: Secure Horizons, Today’s Options, and Medicare Blue.

However if you have a health insurance plan other than those listed above, you will have to pay the cost of the flu vaccination at the time of your appointment. The Health Department will provide a receipt that you may submit to your insurance for reimbursement.

The cost is $35 for adults 19 years of age and above. Cash and checks accepted; no credit or debit cards.

Vaccination for children 6 months of age to 18 years of age and adults will be available at a special Family Flu Clinic 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, October 18 at TCHD. More information will follow at a later date.

While flu vaccination is the best prevention against the flu, basic prevention practices are always important in preventing the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue during coughs and sneezes; discard the tissue.
Keep your hands away from your face, eyes, mouth and nose.
Clean frequently used surfaces such as door knobs, telephones, keyboards.
Stay home from school, work, and social engagements if you have flu symptoms to protect others.

For more information call 607- 274-6616 or go to www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.