BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ October is here, with warm days, chilly nights and changeable weather _ and seasonal flu is not far behind. The Bernards Township health department already has scheduled eight flu shot clinics throughout its member towns, starting next Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Basking Ridge.

All clinics are open to those four years old through adults. Appointments are not required to receive the flu shots, available for $25 for residents of member towns, and $35 for non-residents. There is no charge for those with a valid Medicare Part B card.

The health department says that seasonal flu infections can begin as early as October and can continue as late as May. The flu is a vaccine-preventable, contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus and is characterized by sudden onset with fever, headache, aches, chills and extreme exhaustion.  

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All vaccine used at the BTHD clinics is quadrivalent which means that it protects against four viruses: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Clinics will be held at the following times:

Between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on:

Wednesday, Oct. 9 at St. James Church, 184 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge

Thursday, Oct. 10 at Mendham Area Senior Housing (MASH), One Heritage Drive, Mendham

Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Long Hill Township Town Hall, 915 Valley Rd., Gillette 

Friday, Oct. 18 at  Peapack and Gladstone Municipal Building, 1 School St., Peapack

Saturday, Oct. 19 at Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave. Basking Ridge

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Between noon to 2 p.m. on:

Thursday, Oct. 10 at Chester Area Senior Housing (CASH), 1 Cole Ct., Chester

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From 3:30 pm to 5:30 p.m.:

Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Bernardsville Library, 1 Anderson Hill Rd., Bernardsville

Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave., Basking Ridge

Participants should consult with their doctor before receiving the flu vaccine, according to the health department. Clinical services are provided by the Basking Ridge-based Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills.

For additional information, call (908) 204-2520.

Flu shot requirements for preschoolers

New Jersey law requires that children up to 59 months of age attending any licensed child-care center or preschool facility, must receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine between September 1 and December 31 of each year. To assist parents in obtaining this vaccination for their preschool child, the Bernards Township Health Department has scheduled our Seasonal Flu Shot clinics to include children who are age 4 and older, in addition to administering flu shots to adults.

The Bernards Township Health Department is the contractual health agency serving Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Chester Borough, Long Hill Township, Mendham Borough, and Peapack and Gladstone Borough.For more information, visit the Bernards Township health department's website.