A campaign offering flu shots to University of Alabama students, faculty and staff begins on Monday.
College of Community Health Sciences Dean Dr. Richard Streiffer tells the Tuscaloosa News that the vaccine is the "first and most important" step to prevent the flu. Nurses will visit sites all over the campus during the next three months to provide the free shots, and no insurance is required. All students and employees need is their campus identification.
The vaccines also are available to children of UA employees.
State Health Officer Don Williamson says Alabama's flu season started earlier than a year ago and there are more cases. But he said it's not out of line with some of the busiest years during the last decade.
Health officials say flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly 10 years — and it could be a bad one.
The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly.
But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation seems to be fairly well prepared. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is well matched to the strains of flu so far.