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Bob Kellar: Add “getting a flu shot” to your seasonal list of things to do

Posted: November 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

The holidays are just around the corner, which means most residents are busy doing everything from decorating, planning events and baking to scheduling vacations and time with family and friends.

However, amidst the seasonal rush, one thing many people forget to add to their “to do list” is get a flu shot. And if there’s one thing that really puts a damper on the holiday spirit, it’s the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population catch the flu each year, with symptoms like nausea, nasal congestion, dry cough and fever.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of catching the flu and spreading it to others. Here in Santa Clarita, protecting yourself with a flu shot is simple and convenient with various local places offering vaccines, including the annual flu vaccination clinic at College of the Canyons.

On Friday, the city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with College of the Canyons, the L.A. County Department of Public Health and L.A. County Sheriff Department, will provide free inoculations as part of our annual flu immunization program.

The free walk-through clinic will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at College of the Canyons, East Physical Education building, located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road.

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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone who is at least six months of age receive a flu vaccine this season, in addition to pregnant women, childcare providers, care givers, first responders and anyone with a chronic illness.

As part of the collaborative clinic, Colleges of the Canyons nursing students will administer most of the free vaccinations with EMT students serving as part of the pre-screening process.

Volunteer nurses and staff from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will also be on hand to lend their knowledge and expertise at the flu immunization location.

Many city staff, the city’s Community Emergency Response Team volunteers, as well as the city’s Emergency Communication Team volunteers will also participate.

In addition to flu shots provided to community residents in anticipation of an active flu season, the Friday event will serve 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.

Each year, additional volunteers are brought into the organizational structure of the Cities Readiness Initiative to learn the responsibilities of various key positions and as a result, help train other people to assume the responsibilities within the emergency structure. College of the Canyons is one of many designated point of dispensing sites located throughout Santa Clarita.

Parking for the flu-immunization clinic will be in the adjacent lots near the East Physical Education building on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus. Vaccines will be dispensed beginning at 11 a.m. or as long as they are available until 3 p.m. Drive-through accommodations will be provided for those with limited mobility.

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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