Published : Monday, November 11, 2019 | 7:16 AM
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a motion that directs the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) to enhance outreach efforts to senior citizens and others who are at-risk of becoming gravely ill and possibly dying due to influenza, as the Pasadena Public Health Department continues to provide free flu shots throughout the City.
The free flu shots started in mid-October and will continue as long as supplies are available, the Pasadena Health Department said. The shots are available to everyone ages six months and older at no cost. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when they go to get their shot at any of the vaccination centers in Pasadena.
Tuesday’s motion at the County Board of Supervisors was authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn.
“The flu is a serious illness that can lead to complications, and even result in death, for vulnerable senior citizens,individuals from low-income households, and people with a weakened immune system – that is why I urge everyone to get vaccinated,” Supervisor Solis said in a statement. “Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread the virus to others. Immunization is effective, and it is as important as wearing a seat belt.”
Supervisor Hahn said it is now so easy to get a flu shot almost anywhere in the county.
“We are offering free flu shots at locations across the County,” Hahn said. “The flu is a potentially deadly virus, especially for older adults and people with health conditions. Take a few minutes out of your day to get your annual flu shot. You won’t regret it.”
Health officials urge immunization for everyone 6 months and older.
Recent research quoted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that the flu does not affect all demographics equally. The CDC estimates that, in recent years, between 70 and 90 percent of all flu-related deaths reported nationally occurred among people 65 years or older. Senior citizens are also more vulnerable to develop underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung or heart disease.
During the 2018 to 2019 flu season, 77 of 125 flu-related deaths reported to the Los Angeles County DPH were among those who were 65 years or older.
The CDC said individuals from low-income households are not only more vulnerable to get the flu and end up in a hospital, but are also more likely to experience symptoms, resulting in intensive care unit admissions and even death. Throughout the U.S., vaccination rates are lowest among traditionally underserved minority groups, according to the CDC.
Tuesday’s motion at the Board of Supervisors directs the County Public Health Department to assess existing flu outreach efforts and to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive outreach to targeted populations.
DPH will coordinate this effort with other County agencies, and those of local jurisdictions that work with senior citizens.
The motion requires a 90-day report back and also directs the County to urge immunization among its employees, given that working-age adults typically have the lowest flu vaccine rates, and also given that LA County is Southern California’s largest employer.
To stay informed about Pasadena’s free flu shots and where you could get them, call (626) 744-6121 or visit www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health.