Monday, Sep 19 2011 - With cold weather and flu season approaching, the San Juan County Health and Community Services Department has scheduled adult flu vaccination clinics on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands.
Health officials note that, because different strains of flu develop and spread each year, protection needs to be updated annually. The Health Department’s clinics offer this season’s “trivalent” flu vaccine and will give residents a chance to update protection against other diseases including pneumonia, tetanus and pertussis.
The clinic dates are:
San Juan Island – Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1-4 P.M. at the Mullis Senior Center (in partnership with San Juan Healthcare) Adults only
Orcas Island – Friday, Oct. 14, 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M., Orcas Senior Center
Lopez Island – Tuesday, Oct. 25, 11 A.M. – 3 P.M., at the Lopez Senior Center
If these times are not convenient, please call 378-4474 for an appointment.
The adult flu shots cost $30, payable by check or cash. The Health Department can bill Medicare, Medicaid or Group Health Insurance for the cost of the shot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Flu is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine preventable disease in the United states, with the most vulnerable being people over the age of 50, children under the age of 5, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic illness, even if that illness is well controlled.
Over the years, flu vaccines have proven to be 70%-90% effective in preventing the disease depending on how good a match it is with the circulating influenza viruses. Among the elderly, it reduces the chances of a flu illness requiring hospitalization by 70%. Immunity develops one to two weeks after vaccination.
Studies have found that 99% of the people receiving the vaccine report no undesirable side-effects. The side-effects that have been reported are generally mild and short term. The vaccine contains killed viral particles, so recipients cannot catch the flu by getting a flu shot.
The Health Department emphasizes anyone who comes in contact with young children should not only be vaccinated against the flu, but should make sure that their protection against pertussis (whooping cough) is updated. San Juan County has among the lowest immunization rates for pertussis in the country, and outbreaks of the disease have occurred elsewhere, when immunization rates are low.
The Health Department will be working with public and private schools and preschools again this year to see that as many children as possible receive their flu vaccinations. All children over 6 months are encouraged to get an influenza vaccine. They can make an appointment with their health care provider or call San Juan County Health & Community Services at 378-4474.