With the holiday season underway and people visiting family and friends, the California Department of Public Health is urging Californians to get the influenza vaccine to protect your health, and the health of others, during this flu season.
For Californians who still haven’t had the COVID-19 vaccine or are due for their booster, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be given on the same day.
Influenza is increasing around the country, especially among young adults and children, who commonly spread the disease. The number of cases tend to increase during this time of year.
National survey data show lower vaccination rates for children and pregnant people this year as compared with last year leaving them unprotected and more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
“We continue to see the positive impact vaccines have on our collective and individual health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “There are many reasons to get vaccinated this season, but the best ones are to keep yourself and loved ones healthy.”
CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. Getting vaccinated against the flu is especially important for people at high-risk of severe disease and hospitalization, including:
-People 65 years and older.
-People who smoke or have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, neurologic disorders and weakened immune systems.
-Pregnant women and children under five years of age.
-Caregivers and residents in long-term care facilities.
-Essential workers who encounter others outside their homes or at higher risk because of their occupation.
CDPH encourages Californians to contact their health care provider, physician’s office, or clinic about getting the flu vaccine. Adults and children may also get immunized at the pharmacy where they generally pick up their prescriptions. Pharmacies accept most insurance, including Medi-Cal. Some local health departments may offer low- or no-cost flu immunizations. If you still haven’t had the COVID-19 vaccine or are due for a booster, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be given on the same day. The state’s My Turn website can be used to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and also allows Californians to schedule their flu vaccination or find a walk-in clinic.
Besides getting immunized, you can also take preventive actions:
-Continue wearing a mask when recommended or required in high-risk settings.
-Stay away from people who are sick.
-Stay home when sick for at least 24 hours after symptoms go away.
-Cough or sneeze into your elbow, arm, or disposable tissue. If you use a disposable tissue, use hand sanitizer, or wash your hands afterwards.
-Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-See our Tips for Protecting Yourself and Others This Holiday Season for additional recommendations.
For more information about the flu, visit CDPH’s website.