DALLAS The Dallas County Health Department announced Thursday that they have received the flu vaccine and will start distributing it Monday, even as the first cases of the flu appeared in North Texas.

Starting at 8 a.m. Monday, health department will start distributing its 10,000 doses that came in both the shot and mist form.

When we open up to provide our seasonal flu clinic here, we will have the adult vaccine as well as the children's flu vaccine, said Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health Department. And in the history of being here, I hadn't seen that, at least in the last 15 years. So, that's a good start.

The vaccine is available to anyone over six months of age at a cost of $20 for adults and $5 for children. Children under the age of nine might need two doses given a month apart if they didn't receive the H1N1 vaccine last season, or if they received less than two doses and weren't immunized for the flu prior to last year.

They still need two doses, said Dr. Wendy Chung, the chief epidemiologist for Dallas County. And, if you can imagine the reason for that is their bodies have never seen perhaps the two other strains that are in this vaccine - the two seasonal doses - and so their bodies need to be primed for protection against those two other strains.

Chung confirmed the two flu strains are already circulating in the county. Dallas County reported its first hospitalization from the Type B strain last week. H1N1 has not yet been diagnosed.

But, health authorities say the early arrival of the flu should underscore the importance of getting protection from the vaccine now.


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