The clinics are open to everyone, regardless of age. However, the CDC has emphasized the importance of receiving the vaccination for those who are more susceptible to complications of the flu, including people 50 years old and older and children six months to 18 years old--especially those on long-term aspirin treatment. Children who have never received the immunization shot must receive two; the first one is a booster, because "immune systems need an extra kick to make sure they develop immunization," Nestor said.
The CDC also recommends individuals of the following to receive the flu shot, as listed on Onondaga County's Health Department Web site: "Residents of long-term care facilities; people with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney problems, cancer or blood disorders; people with certain disorders such as stroke and seizure disorder that increase the risk of fluid getting into the lungs; people with a weakened immune system; and women who will be pregnant during flu season."
Nestor also recommends that college students get the vaccination, due to the fact that they tend to live in close quarters with others, especially those who live in dormitories. Stephanie Keefe, a Syracuse University freshman, said she would "definitely consider" getting the flu shot this year, though she never has in the past.
Keefe has spent the last week trying to get rid of a case of laryngitis, and suspects the illness has just been "going around."
Keefe said getting the flu shot is worth it because then she would not have to worry about getting sick again. However, she is not sure whether she would be willing to pay the $30 that the adult immunization shot costs.
Children's shots cost $15, as does FluMist(r) is an alternative nasal spray immunization for children ages two to 18-years-old. But those who are unable to pay will not be turned away, according to the health department's Web site.