TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. – Fall is a bountiful season in Tompkins County: apples ripen, pumpkins swell and unfortunately, the influenza virus starts to creep in. In a typical year, flu cases start to rise in October before peaking in the early winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The Tompkins County Health Department is urging everyone over six months old to get vaccinated to curb the spread of the virus.

“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 six months who are too young to be immunized and those who are immune compromised such as people receiving cancer treatment,” the health department said in a news release.

Starting Sept. 25, the Health Department will provide vaccinations by appointment at its 55 Brown Rd. location in Ithaca.

On Oct. 19, the health department will host a Family Flu Clinic with appointments available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

They will also administer vaccinations from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 2 at Lifelong, 119 West Court St. in Ithaca.

Patients covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, Medicare Part B or a Medicare Managed Care Plan will see no out-of-pocket costs. Patients covered by other insurance plans will need to pay $38 by cash or check upfront, which may be reimbursable.

Beyond the Tompkins County Health Department, most healthcare providers and pharmacies in the area also offer flu vaccinations.

Appointments are required at all TCHD clinics and can be made by calling 607-274-6616. More information is available at www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health. For a fact sheet on the 2018-19 flu season, check out this CDC fact sheet.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at dmagliozzi@ithacavoice.com or 607-391-0328.