Seasonal Flu Shots Important to Preventing Serious Illness
For Release November 8, 2005
Contra Costa Health officials are urging residents not to be fooled by the warmer-than-normal weather and be sure they get a seasonal flu vaccine now to prevent serious illness in the coming months.
"There may be no vaccine yet for Avian flu, but there is a very safe and effective vaccine for seasonal flu and we know that the flu season is only a few weeks away," says Dale Jenssen, Immunization Manager for Contra Costa Health Services.
The County, working with Maxim Health Systems, is offering two special flu clinics on Thursday, November 10 at the Antioch Senior Center, 2nd and E Streets from 9:30 - 11 a.m. and at the Pittsburg Senior Center, 300 Presidio Lane from 2 - 3 p.m. On Tuesday, November 15, there will be a flu clinic at the San Pablo Senior Center at 1943 Church Lane from 9 - 10:30 a.m. and at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane from 1 - 2:30 p.m. The vaccine will be given to seniors and the general public, 9 years of age and over. Flu shots will not be given to persons with allergies to eggs, current fevers or infections.
The fee for the shots is $10, although no one will be denied if they are unable to pay. Persons 65 years of age and over with Medicare Part B as their primary insurance are asked to bring their Medicare cards. The shot will be free of charge when the card is presented. (For other locations and dates, call 1-877-962-9358 or log on to the Internet at flucliniclocator.org. For information about flu clinics for children under 9 years old, call 1-800-246-2494.)
Jenssen says the flu, also called influenza, causes an estimated 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year. It is highly contagious, with the disease peaking during the winter.
"People worry every year about getting the flu," says Jenssen. "The vaccine is a great way to keep from getting really sick and from spreading the disease to your family, friends and coworkers." According to Jenssen, seniors age 65 or older, infants 6 - 23 months of age, pregnant women, and children and adults who have a chronic disease such as those of the heart, lung, kidney or blood should definitely have the vaccine. It is also important for people in regular contact with those groups, especially health care workers to have the vaccine.
Besides the vaccine, Jenssen says people can prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently, covering their mouths when they cough. For other tips and more information about influenza or other health topics in Contra Costa County, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website at cchealth.org and click on Health Topics.
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