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Bob Kellar: City/COC walk-through clinic offers free flu vaccine

Live From City Hall

Posted: October 22, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Updated: October 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Flu season: It’s back!

To assist residents in preparing for the upcoming flu season, the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. County Department of Public Health and College of the Canyons will conduct a free community flu-immunization program on Friday.

The clinic will be held in the East Physical Education Building S on COC’s Valencia campus. Free parking will be in adjacent lots and the vaccine will be given from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., or as long as there is vaccine available.

This will be the fifth consecutive year the city and College of the Canyons will host the flu-shot clinic for Santa Clarita residents.

Over the last four years, the Santa Clarita drive-through flu-shot clinics have ranked among the best in California, according to public health officials.

This year the drive-through flu clinic will be replaced by a walk-through model.

While flu shots will be provided to city residents in anticipation of an active flu season, the Friday’s event also serves a secondary purpose — to test the Cities Readiness Initiative response during a bioterrorism attack. 

The purpose of this plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period. College of the Canyons is one of many designated point-of-dispensing sites located throughout Santa Clarita.

While the drive-through concept proved to be very successful in past years, organizers have decided to go with a “walk-through” model in order to perfect that system. In the case of an actual need to inoculate an entire community, it is likely that both models would be activated in order to inoculate as many people as possible in the shortest period of time.

Receiving a flu shot is an important thing to do this time of year to protect against the viral infection officially known as influenza. Flu shots can save lives, especially among the elderly, who account for a majority of the 20,000 flu-related deaths in the United States each year. The flu shot is also recommended for children 6 months and older, pregnant women, childcare providers, caregivers, first-responders and anyone with a chronic illness.

The flu usually affects 10-20 percent of the U.S. population each year with an average of 2.8 work days lost per ill individual. When infected, flu symptoms include nasal congestion, dry cough and fever.

Recent scientific discoveries show that society as a whole benefits if you vaccinate the entire population and provide antiviral medications to those who get sick.

Joining the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. Department of Public Health and COC are the L.A. County Sheriff’s and Fire Departments. As part of the collaborative clinic, students from College of the Canyon’s School of Nursing will administer the flu shots, along with public health nurses. City staff and emergency volunteers will also be on hand to support the clinic operations.

College of the Canyons is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia 91355.

For more information, call the city’s Community Services Division at (661) 250-3708.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilman. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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