Last year's free flu clinic in Berkeley

Last year Berkeley gave free flu shots to more than 2,600 people in its one-day free clinic, and this year the city expects to even give out more.

The plummeting economy means that many more people have lost their health insurance and will be turning to free clinics for their health care, according to Victoria Breckwich-Vásquez, a senior health services program specialist at the city of Berkeley Public Health Division.

“It’s a concern for us in all aspects of health care but particularly in preventative care,” said Breckwich-Vasquez. “If you go to CVS or Walgreens they charge $25 to $30, so we are hoping people can really use this as an opportunity to get the flu shot that they need.”

The Berkeley Public Health Division will be inoculating people on Tuesday Oct. 12 from 3 to 7 pm at the Berkeley Adult School at 1701 San Pablo Avenue, near Virginia Street.

Last year, the threat of the H1N1 virus prompted many people to seek out flu shots. Since there is no similar threat this year, some people may be disinclined to get inoculated, said Breckwich-Vasquez. But the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend that all those 6 months of age and older get vaccinated.

This year’s shot contains vaccines against three different strains of the flu, including the H1N1 virus.

There will be about 100 doctors, nurses, medical professionals and volunteers at the clinic, she said. Last year, it took about four hours to give 2,600 people their shots.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...