Public hospitals in Costa Rica, part of the Social Security System, or Caja, on Monday began offering flu vaccines earlier than expected.
Shots are free for Caja members, and non-members can buy the vaccine at pharmacies or private clinics. This year’s flu vaccine costs from ₡7,000-₡13,000 ($14-$26).
Caja medical officials said children and adults older than 65 are most vulnerable to the flu.
The annual flu vaccination program began two months earlier than expected, due mostly to weather conditions and increased cases of the disease. According to the Health Ministry, 14 people have died this year from the flu.
A total of 378,000 doses of the vaccine will be issued during the National Vaccination Program, which runs until February 2013.