NORRISTOWN Montgomery County is spending twice as much on its free flu-shot clinics this season as last year because the state ended a grant program that had supported many counties' annual anti-flu efforts.

In April, the county ordered 6,350 doses of the influenza vaccine, with the hope the state would pay for half of them.

"At the time, we were still hopeful the state would restore the grant program that had been in place for years," said finance director Uri Monson. "They did not, and that's why we had to . . . find other ways to cover the cost."

The loss of the grant will cost the county an extra $98,000.

So far, 5,535 doses have been administered. Of those, 740 went to county employees. Monson said the employee health-insurance fund had agreed to reimburse the cost of their vaccines.

Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro said the free flu shot clinics were "one of the most popular programs through our Health Department" and a high priority for county government.

"The more we can mitigate flu impact in our county," he said, "the better off everyone is."

Flu season can extend into May, so it's not too late to get a vaccine, the county says. Call 610-278-5117 for times and locations.

- Jessica Parks