Sacramento County Public Health urges everyone to prioritize getting the flu shot this flu season to protect you and your family from the deadly virus. This year is more important than ever to get the flu shot as COVID-19 is continuing to spread. From the end of September through November, the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program is hosting free Adult and Family Flu Clinics throughout Sacramento County.
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will not only reduce your risk from flu but also help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.
“Those who cannot receive the vaccine, including infants under six months of age, and individuals with a compromised immune system such as those going through chemotherapy, rely on others being vaccinated to help protect them,” Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye, said. “The earlier people get vaccinated, the better. It takes two weeks for the protective properties of the vaccine to take effect.”
Vaccination of people at high risk for flu complications is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. These include seniors and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease and kidney disease. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19. If you are at high risk, it is especially important for you to get a flu vaccine this year.
In addition to getting vaccinated, it’s crucial to practice good health habits. If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, you should take actions to stop the spread of germs, including:
- Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or with a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs.
Free flu clinics are open to all who are over six months of age and are without medical contraindication to receive the vaccine. If you cannot attend a flu clinic, low-cost immunizations are also available for those who qualify. The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older get an annual flu vaccine, especially those most at risk: children younger than age five, seniors 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and people with chronic lung, heart, kidney, liver, blood, neurological or metabolic disorders, including diabetes, or who are immunocompromised for any reason, and those people’s caregivers or close contacts.
For questions or to find out more about the vaccination clinics, contact the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program at 916-875-7468. Data on local flu cases will be posted on the What You Need to Know About the Flu webpage.