October 18, 2002

Flu Kick-Off Event Marks Start of 2002-2003 Flu Season

Thousands of dollars and numerous sick days are lost each year due to the flu. As part of the countywide “Immunize San Diego” campaign, which began yesterday, the Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), a collaboration of hospitals, nonprofit organizations and healthcare agencies are joining forces in a countywide effort to increase the number of medically at risk residents who receive flu and pneumonia shots.

“Now is the time for all health-care workers and all elderly and high-risk patients to be vaccinated, while we’re asking that others defer their shots until November when the community supply of vaccine can be assured,” says Dr. Richard Brown, Family Physician, Kaiser Permanente and Co-Chair of the San Diego Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination Committee.

Brown spoke at a kick-off ceremony held on October 15th at Senior Community Centers in San Diego to encourage county residents to prevent flu by obtaining the appropriate immunizations. Hundreds of high risk residents received flu shots provided by Sharp Senior Services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all of the following people are at high risk for complications from influenza, and should be vaccinated in October or November: persons aged 65 years old or older; children 6 – 23 months; adults and children with a chronic health condition; women who will be more than 3 months pregnant during flu season; household contacts or care-givers of people at high risk; healthcare workers; household contacts or care-givers of children under 2 years old; children 6 months – 8 years old getting the very first flu shot need a booster shot one month after the first dose of vaccine. Everyone else should wait until November or later, including healthy people 50-64 and anyone who wants to prevent the flu. Keep in mind that if you can’t get your shot now, it is NOT TOO LATE to be vaccinated in December or even later! The flu season in San Diego often peaks in January or February.

For those without a personal physician, more than 300 sites throughout the county will be distributing flu vaccinations at an affordable rate during the next few months. For more information or a list of vaccination locations near you, call 1-877-FLU – 0202 or visit the CHIP website at www.sdchip.org. For more information about adult immunizations visit the San Diego County Immunization Initiative web page at www.immunization-sd.org.

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