Kaiser Permanente will open all seasonal flu clinics throughout Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 22, and urges all members to get their no-cost vaccinations early. To provide more convenient access to the influenza (flu) vaccine, Kaiser Permanente will offer members additional vaccination locations beyond their regular physicians’ offices, including drive-up flu clinics, pharmacies and walk-in flu clinics.
The schedule for Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center area flu clinics, including medical offices in North Hollywood, Mission Hills, Santa Clarita and Panorama City is available here.
The most effective primary prevention against contracting the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year – and early. While vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year, recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness between 40 and 60 percent when vaccines are well-matched against the circulating influenza strains.
There are numerous misconceptions and myths about seasonal flu and flu vaccines that prevent individuals from getting their flu shot. These harmful myths also cause significant disparities in flu vaccination by race, of particular focus – the African American and Latino communities.
According to the CDC, African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are disparate populations that experience disproportionately higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart diseases, as well as extreme obesity which are all conditions that place them at higher risk for severe influenza complications. These groups are more often under-vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, many people choose not to get their annual influenza vaccine because of myths they believe about the disease or the vaccine. One popular myth is that getting the flu shot will actually give you flu. It’s simply not true,” said Margaret Khoury, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist and regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program. “Contrary to that myth, not getting the vaccine makes individuals especially vulnerable to catching the flu. As health professionals we are concerned that there are myths prevalent in the African American and Latino communities, so we work closely with our community partners to inform and educate, and at some locations offer free flu shots directly to the community. We strongly encourage all to get their flu shot and get it early, preferably before the end of October.”
Getting vaccinated can reduce flu-related illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed school and work due to flu. Influenza vaccination in high-risk individuals has also been linked to favorable health outcomes, including fewer flu-related hospitalizations and death. High-risk individuals include children, elderly, immuno-compromised individuals and those with severe chronic conditions.
For a complete list of clinic locations and times, and for more information about preventing or treating the flu, visit www.kp.org/flu.