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Ask the Expert

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Try a free drive-thru

Live from City Hall

Posted: November 1, 2008 2:23 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.
 
To assist residents in preparing for the upcoming flu season, the city of Santa Clarita will be hosting the third annual drive-through flu shot clinic on Friday at College of the Canyons.

Those interested in receiving free flu shots this season can simply drive up to the college from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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. Numerous studies have addressed the questions regarding who should get a flu shot: Are they only beneficial for the seniors? Is it worth the time and money to vaccinate healthy, younger adults? Should children get a flu shot?

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

The flu usually affects 10 percent to 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. While flu shots will be provided to city residents in anticipation of an active flu season, the Nov. 7 event also serves a secondary purpose.

This clinic will also test the Cities Readiness Initiative response during a bioterrorism attack. The purpose of the CRI plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period. Under the plan, the drive-through clinic is called a rapid point of dispensing, or POD. College of the Canyons is one of many a designated POD sites located throughout Santa Clarita.

The drive-through flu clinic is being held in partnership with the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. Department of Public Health, College of the Canyons and the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire Departments.

As part of the collaborative clinic, students from College of the Canyons’ 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.

According to public health officials, the city’s 2006 and 2007 drive-through flu clinics were two of the best in all of California.

In a three-hour period, more than a thousand community members participated and received a free shot in 2007, and in 2006 there were approximately 800 participants.

Carpooling to College of the Canyons for the free flu shot clinic is encouraged — and so is patience.

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita city councilwoman. Her column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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