SOMERVILLE, NJ - Somerset County residents can take advantage of free, seasonal flu shots at several upcoming clincis, including one in Somerville on Oct. 19, according to Somerset County Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health and safety liaison.

Sponsored by the Somerset County Department of Health, the schedule includes:

Oct. 3: 10 a.m. to noon - North Plainfield Community Center, 614 Greenbrook Road, North Plainfield, NJ 07063.  Open to Somerset County adults, age 18 and over. Cost: $5 for North Plainfield residents, $10 for non-borough residents, or free for people with Medicare Part B 

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Oct. 12:  10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Franklin Township Community Senior Center, 505 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873.   Open only to Franklin Township residents, age 65 and over.  Cost:  Free

Oct. 17:  9:30 to 11:30 a.m. - Franklin Township Community Senior Center, 505 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873. Open only to Franklin Township residents, age 65 and over. Cost: Free

Oct. 19:  11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Somerville Senior Housing, 1 Mountain Ave. Somerville, NJ 08876. Open to Somerset County adults, age 18 and over.  Cost: $15 or free for people with Medicare Part B 

Since influenza (flu) viruses constantly change and the body's immunity from the vaccine declines over time, it is recommended that you get a flu vaccine every year to protect against the viruses that research suggests are most likely to circulate each season.  

The flu is a contagious disease that affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. Even healthy people can become sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time, or even be hospitalized.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Pregnant women, young children, older people and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, so getting a yearly flu vaccine is especially important for them.

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year, but be sure to practice good health habits, such as handwashing with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and staying home when sick.  

For current flu clinic information from the Somerset County Department of Health, go online to http://bit.ly/FluShotsHD or call (908) 231-7155.