The City of Long Beach Department of Health, with assistance from the American Red Cross, will operate walk-in flu clinics beginning Tuesday, Sept. 29 for people age 50 and older and adults ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for serious complications of influenza.
According to Dr. Helene Calvet, city health officer, these clinics will offer only the seasonal flu vaccine. H1N1 vaccine is not yet available, but plans are underway for a citywide distribution of H1N1 vaccine to the people for whom it is indicated; H1N1 clinics are likely to begin in late October.
“Getting an annual flu shot is important for high-risk individuals to help prevent influenza and possible complications from seasonal flu,” said Calvet. Adults who need annual seasonal flu shots include:
• Persons who are 50 years of age and older
• Persons 18–49 with underlying chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung conditions, or who are immune suppressed, e.g. persons with HIV/AIDS, receiving cancer treatment, on dialysis, etc.
• Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
• Caregivers of seniors or infants
Adults with Medicare Part B are urged to bring their Medicare card to the clinic to receive a free flu shot. A $2 donation to offset administrative costs will be requested from people who do not have Medicare. Pregnant women are encouraged to discuss the flu shot with their doctor.
No appointment is needed at the following sites/dates:
Long Beach Health Department
2525 Grand Avenue
Long Beach Senior Center
1150 E. 4th St.
American Gold Star Manor
Spring at Santa Fe
Cal Rec. Center/McBride Park
1550 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave.
El Dorado Park Senior Center
2800 Studebaker Rd.
6301 Myrtle Ave.
In 2008 about 4,500 people received flu vaccine at clinics like these coordinated or operated by the Long Beach Health Department. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual seasonal flu vaccine for all children age six months to 18 years. According to the CDC, influenza is one of the leading causes of death in the nation among people in all age groups. The Health Department will have seasonal flu vaccine available for infants over the age of six months and others who cannot attend scheduled clinics listed above at the main health facility, located at 2525 Grand Ave. Appointments are required and can be made by calling (562) 570-4221.
FLU PREVENTION TIPS
The Health Department also recommends that all persons practice healthy habits to prevent them from getting or transmitting the flu:
• Wash hands with soap and water or a hand sanitizer frequently
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home from work or school if you are sick
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
• Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, exercise, get plenty of rest, do not smoke, and avoid alcoholic beverages
The Health Department’s vaccination information Shot Line is updated periodically with flu vaccine information, and may be reached at (562) 570-SHOT (570-7468) or at www.longbeach.gov/health.