Health care providers urge flu vaccinations The Press-Enterprise
September 29, 2011
Health care providers and public health officials are urging
children and adults to have flu vaccinations this year to protect
them from influenza in the coming months.
An estimated 36,000 people across the country die from seasonal
flu annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta. California averages about 4,000 annual
seasonal flu deaths. It’s unclear how many Inland residents die
annually from flu-like illnesses.
Although flu is most dangerous for older people, the CDC this
year recommends that everyone flu vaccinations for everyone who
is at least 6 months old.
Children’s Hospital Boston researchers found that flu rates
among 2- to 4-year-olds dropped 34 percent following changes to
the U.S. vaccine policy beginning in 2006. Their study, published
last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, also
discovered smaller reductions in other age groups.
The CDC estimates that as many as 173 million vaccine doses will
be available this flu season, which typically starts in fall and
lasts until spring.
Public health officials warn that adults at least 50 years old
are most likely to become ill from the flu, because they tend to
suffer from at least one chronic health condition that puts them
at risk of complications.
Nationwide, more than 60 percent of adults say they plan to be
vaccinated, according to a survey by the National Foundation for
Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit organization. This year, there
will be four vaccine options from which to choose: the
traditional injection, nasal spray, a high-dose injection for
people 65 and older, and a new, skin-prick needle for adults.
Many pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and
Stater Bros., have been offering flu vaccinations for weeks.
Inter Valley Health Plan, a Pomona-based nonprofit health
organization, will hold a flu shot clinic next month in Hemet for
The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health on
Wednesday will begin holding vaccination clinics throughout the
county. Vaccinations cost $10.
The Riverside County Department of Public Health on Monday
will begin offering flu vaccinations at its 10 family clinics,
said Tonya Geiger, the department’s immunization branch chief. It
also will provide vaccines to other health care facilities,
including Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center and
Riverside County regional Medical Center, she said.
The department is hopeful that people will find places to get
vaccinations, no matter where they live, Geiger said.
“There’s a lot out there,” she said. “We’re trying to make it
easy. It’s important because it protects children and the