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Bob Kellar: Free flu shots offered at annual clinic

Live from City Hall

Posted: October 22, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:30 a.m.
 

During the colder months of the year, many people are concerned about catching the flu. One of the best ways to prevent a bad case of the flu is to get an annual flu shot.

In a recent survey published this month, 42  percent of respondents said that they are not planning on getting a flu shot this year, due to common misconceptions, such as vaccine frequency and age recommendations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu shots are recommended for anyone age 6 months or older, including those who were vaccinated last flu season. A flu shot is needed annually, because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over the course of the season.

The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with College of the Canyons, the L.A. Department of Public Health and L.A. County Sheriff Department, will host the sixth annual flu immunization program to help community members be prepared for the upcoming flu season.

The free walk-through clinic will be on Nov. 4,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the College of the Canyon, East Physical Education building. For those with limited mobility, drive-through accommodations will be provided.

Receiving a flu shot is an important thing to do this time of year to protect against the flu, a 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 highly recommended for pregnant women, childcare providers, care givers, first responders and anyone with a chronic illness.

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

Recent scientific discoveries show that society as a whole benefits if the entire population is vaccinated and antiviral medications are used on those who get sick.

As part of the collaborative clinic, students from College of the Canyon’s School of Nursing will be administering the flu shots, along with public health nurses. City staff and emergency volunteers will also be supporting the clinic operations.

While flu shots will be provided to community residents in anticipation of an active flu season, the Nov. 4 event also serves as a test to the Cities Readiness Initiative response during a bioterrorism attack. The CDC’s Cities Readiness

Initiative is a federally funded program designed to enhance preparedness in the nation’s largest cities and metropolitan statistical areas.

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.

The flu-immunization clinic will be conducted in the East Physical Education building on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus. Parking will be in adjacent lots and the vaccine will be dispensed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or as long as there is vaccine available. College of the Canyons is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road

For more information about the free walk in flu shot clinic, please contact the City’s Community Services Division at (661) 250-3708.

Bob Kellar is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at   bkellar@santa-clarita.com
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