California officials urge flu vaccine

Bay Area

A flu vaccine is administered at a walk-up Covid-19 testing site, November 24, 2020, in San Fernando, California, just northeast of the city of Los Angeles. – California shattered the state’s single-day COVID-19 record with over 20,500 new cases recorded on November 23 ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) / The erroneous mention appearing in the IPTC metadata of this photo by Robyn Beck has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [San Fernando, California] instead of [San Fernando, Philippines]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention from all your online services and delete it from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

State public health officials urged residents this week to get a flu vaccine, especially if they are part of a high-risk group such as those age 65 and older.

Flu season typically lasts from October to May and begins to accelerate in November and December, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Last year’s flu season was likely blunted by public health measures enacted in response to the state’s winter COVID-19 surge, but the potential for outbreaks of both viruses still looms this year, CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said.

“In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, a severe flu season could be devastating for California,” Aragon said.

“Getting a flu shot is a safe and simple thing we can all do to keep people out of the hospital and reduce the strain on our health care system.”

Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone six months old or older, but are particularly important for high-risk groups, including people who smoke or have underlying health issues, pregnant women, children age 5 or younger, long-term care facility residents and employees and workers in industries that are deemed essential.

CDPH officials also noted that it is safe to receive a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day.

Flu vaccines are available and low or no cost at most retail pharmacies, health care providers, clinics and some local health departments. Retail pharmacies will also accept most insurance, including Medi-Cal, CDPH officials said.

Information about the annual flu can be found at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/Influenza.aspx.

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