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Flu shots widely available

Flu shots have become widely available — and as easy to get as stepping up to the counter at the local drug store.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu vaccine this fall.

While flu is unpredictable, it’s likely that H1N1 viruses and regular seasonal viruses will cause illness in the U.S. this flu season, according to the CDC.

So the CDC is recommending a 2010-2011 flu vaccine that will protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.

The Manatee County Health Department, 410 Sixth Ave. E., Bradenton, is offering flu shots Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The shots are free for people with Medicare and $25 for others.

Walgreens, with the slogan “Get it. Before you get it,” is offering walk-in all-in-one shots. The Island store is at 3248 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach.

CVS, 611 Manatee Ave., Holmes Beach, also is offering all-in-one shots. Customers can make appointments Thursday through Monday this week, or walk in on Tuesday.

Publix, 3900 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, will offer flu vaccines from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Pricing at stores depends on insurance plans, but generally a non-Medicare customer can expect to get a shot for about $25-$30, not taking other insurance coverage into account.

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce hosted a vaccine day last week.

The Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, will host its vaccine day Friday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon and the cost $25.

On Longboat Key, the Longboat Island Chapel will host a flu shot clinic Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Additionally, many physicians are offering flu shots, with insurance plans sometimes covering the expense, or part of the expense.

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