DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Even though North Texas is still seeing summer temperatures, the time has come to start thinking about flu season. The Dallas County health department starts administering this year’s flu shots on Thursday – a little earlier than in the past.

This is the same flu vaccine that was offered last year. The flu shot will provide protection against multiple flu strains, including H1N1. The vaccine costs $5 for children and $20 for adults at the Dallas County health department. Patients covered by Medicare can receive the vaccine for free.

Flu season starts in October.

January and February are typically the peak months for the flu. But of course, experts are not sure what might happen this year. So, despite the earlier vaccine date, it is not a bad idea to get the flu shot now, especially since the vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective.

The Dallas County health department has ordered 10,000 doses of the flu vaccine. Plenty are available for patients. “We realize that a lot of residents have been concerned about availability of the vaccine,” said Zachary Thompson with Dallas County Health & Human Services. “You don’t have that as an excuse. We have enough. We have it early.”