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With an unusually active flu season on the way, local agencies are urging residents to get a seasonal flu vaccinations now, before flu season officially begins.

This year, health officials are recommending two types of flu vaccine - a regular seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are available now through the Benton County Health Department, the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties and private health care providers. Vaccinating early for the seasonal flu can help lessen the severity and frequency of illness this flu season, as well as protect other community members from illness.

The vaccine for novel H1N1 or "swine flu" is expected to be available in Oregon beginning in October, with the first doses going to those at highest risk of serious illness and death and to health care providers and emergency medical workers.

Flu clinics for students and employees at Oregon State University have been scheduled for mid-October.

Insurance companies have committed to covering vaccination costs for both the seasonal flu as well as the novel H1N1 virus expected to be active this flu season. This will reduce potential barriers facing those who can play an active role in protecting public health through preventive care.

According to the Flu Coalition of Benton and Linn Counties, local health care providers also have provided the following information for patients seeking vaccines:

  • Samaritan Health Services: Call your primary care doctor to schedule an appointment or visit a Samaritan Health Services urgent care clinic. For more information, visit www.samhealth.org.
  • The Corvallis Clinic: Call your doctor's office to schedule an appointment. For more information, see www.corvallsiclinic.com/flu or call The Clinic's flu hotline at 541-754-1283.
  • OSU Student Health Services: On-campus seasonal flu shot clinics for students, faculty and staff on will take place Oct. 14 and 15, in the Memorial Union, Room 109, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 737-9355.

Additional seasonal flu clinic information is available at the American Lung Association Web site at www.flucliniclocator.org or by calling Oregon SafeNet at 800-723-3638.

The Flu Coalition of Benton and Linn counties includes health care providers, public health departments, pharmacies, and other agencies working in cooperation to prevent the spread of flu and distribute vaccine in the mid-Willamette Valley.

For more information, see compiled resources at the Oregon Department of Human Services' Web site: www.flu.oregon.gov.

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