Health experts strongly encourage students to get their free Kaiser flu shot
October 22, 2020 - 08:54 AM
The combination of a bad flu season and COVID could lead to a wave of hospitalizations and possible hospital overcrowding say Public Health experts. The LA County Public Health Department is encouraging the public, including students to get a Flu Shot this year to help manage the Pandemic. Mt. SAC’s Health Center and Kaiser Permanente have teamed up to offer all of the college’s students a free flu shot at any one of five Kaiser Facilities in the region.
With the nation’s top health experts encouraging citizens to get their flu shot, especially since COVID is already overwhelming many health care systems across the country, and cases are again on the rise. Mt. SAC’s Health center wanted to be sure students could get vaccinated for influenza at no cost.
“Receiving the Influenza vaccine will protect an individual from an Influenza infection; if more individuals receive their “flu shot”, then there will be less flu cases,” said Marti Whitford, FNP, Director of Health Services for Mt. SAC. “This will help us prevent the “Twindemic” (COVID-19 and influenza viruses) we have been hearing about in the news. Reducing flu cases will allow us to concentrate our attention and efforts on stopping the COVID-19 spread and heal our communities.”
During Flu Season 2019-20, Kaiser connected with Mt. SAC to offer free flu vaccines on-campus and at their sites, according to Whitford. “This season, Kaiser has continued to reach out to offer free flu shots at their locations, and our College community benefits from this generous partnership.”
“Jose Pena, RN (Staff Nurse at the Health Center) gets the credit for the great work he did building the relationship with Kaiser which brought the offer of free flu vaccines to our students,” said Whitford.
The Health Center has coordinated for students to get free flu shots at the following Kaiser Permanente locations. Students will need to mention they are a Mt. SAC student, wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.
Baldwin Park 1011 Baldwin Park Blvd. Baldwin Park 91706 M-F 7:30am-7:00pm Sat-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm
Diamond Bar 1336 Bridgegate Dr. Diamond Bar 91765 Mon-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm
Montebello 1550 Town Center Dr. Montebello 90640 Mon-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm
1255 W. Arrow Hwy San Dimas 91773 Mon-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm
West Covina 1249 S. Sunset Ave. West Covina 91790 Mon-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm
Because it is highly likely that both flu and COVID-19 will be present in L.A. County this year, LA County Public Health advises residents to protect themselves from the flu by getting the flu immunization.
In a release stressing the importance of the influenza shot, Public Health says, “ now more than ever it is important to be protected from influenza by getting immunized.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting a flu shot in September or October. The flu season normally runs from October through May, with peaks from December through February.”
Taking precautions is especially important for young adults as Public Health data recently released shows that” Throughout the pandemic, people between the ages of 18 and 49 years old have had the highest number of cases, now accounting for 58% of all cases. When you add teenagers, a group who may be out socializing, individuals between 12 through 50 years old account for 68% of new cases.
LA County Public Health’s release states that, “There are 780 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in LA County and 31% of these people are in the ICU. The number of daily hospitalizations has returned to levels seen early in the pandemic.”
This means an influx of Flu patients could possibly overwhelm area hospitals
More information is available at the Health Center Website. The County Public health also has a website devoted to encouraging residents to get a flu shot. For more information on Mt. SAC’s response to COVID-19 and what students can do to protect themselves,s visit Mt. SAC’s Health alert page.