Over the next several weeks, Braintree health officials will make available the seasonal flu vaccine to hundreds of local students and adults.
Flu vaccine distribution began last month with seniors and will continue on Sunday, Oct. 13 when the town hosts a free flu clinic at Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The clinic is free to all Braintree residents age 18 and older, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Residents are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards, but will not be charged a fee.
Money reimbursed by health insurance companies goes into the Braintree Health Department's revolving fund that helps pay for all vaccination activity by the town.
Last year, the health department vaccinated 1,200 residents in just four hours. That clinic was followed by two supplemental clinics in which another 600 residents received vaccination
This year, the health department ordered a new vaccine that covers four strains of the flu. The quadrivalent vaccine was finalized by several makers this summer as a step up from the three-strain trivalent vaccine that will be most widely available from towns and pharmacies.
Marybeth McGrath, director of the town's health division, said that Braintree was able to secure a stock of the new vaccine because its Board of Health members Dr. Arthur Bregoli Jr., Dr. Philip Nedelman and School Nurse Paula Dowd keep a close eye on flu vaccine developments.
"It's hard to come by," McGrath said. "We want to be able to offer the most benefit that we could."
The health department is also offering vaccinations in Braintree's middle and high schools for students whose guardians sign a permission slip. That information was scheduled to be sent by email to parents this week.
Town health officials do not vaccinate elementary-age children because they require two doses and that causes too much confusion, McGrath said. Parents of those children should contact their doctor for vaccine information.
The student clinics will be held at Braintree High School on Tuesday morning, Oct. 22 and at East and South middle schools on Wednesday morning, Oct. 23.
McGrath told the School Committee Monday night that the town has enough vaccine in stock to serve all students whose guardians provide permission.