September 24, 2010
This flu season, age and health status won’t matter as the vaccine will be available to everyone 6 months and older.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and its many partners today announced that the flu vaccine is now available throughout the region. As it does every year, seasonal flu vaccine offers protection against three flu viruses that are expected to be around this winter.
A change this flu season is that people 9 years and older will only need one type of flu shot because the H1N1 vaccine is now part of the seasonal flu vaccine. However, two doses are still recommended for children 6 months to 8 years and they are to be administered four weeks apart.
“It is extremely important for people to get vaccinated and to practice good hand washing hygiene,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts at a vaccination clinic organized by the San Diego Black Nurses Association, the San Diego Immunization Coalition, and HHSA. “I encourage everyone in San Diego County to get their flu shot,” added Roberts, who got vaccinated along with hundreds of residents.
This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that people 6 months and older get vaccinated. The vaccine is especially recommended for people at higher risk of developing complications from the flu: pregnant women, children under 5, people 50 and older, those with chronic medical conditions and people in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Supervisor Ron Roberts gets his seasonal flu vaccine, which also offers protection against H1N1.
According to the CDC, more than 160 million flu doses will be available across the country. This is a 40 percent increase compared to previous years in anticipation of higher demand from the public.
The vaccine comes in injectable and nasal forms; however, the nasal spray is only recommended for healthy individuals between 2 and 49 years of age.
Locally, people can get the flu vaccine at their doctor’s office or retail pharmacies. People with no insurance or medical provider can get the flu vaccine at the County’s seven public health vaccination clinics. The nearest location can be found at www.sdiz.org or by calling 2-1-1.
Last flu season, because of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, there were more flu-related deaths in the County than any previous year; 57 H1N1-related deaths since the novel H1N1 virus was discovered in April 2009. Furthermore, more than 900 people had to be hospitalized due to complications from H1N1.
“These deaths and hospitalizations can be prevented,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County Public Health Officer. “Getting vaccinated is the single most important action people can take to protect themselves from the flu.”
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