H1N1 vaccine still recommended as flu cases decline; city plans another free vaccine clinic at El Dorado Senior Center

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free flue vaccine clinicThe City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services will offer free H1N1 flu vaccine at a special clinic at El Dorado Park on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to noon.

The clinic will be held in the El Dorado Park Senior Center facility, which is located at 2800 Studebaker Road, Long Beach. No appointments are needed. H1N1 flu vaccine is recommended and available for all people over the age of 6 months. Only one dose is required for people over the age of ten but children 9 and under should receive two doses at least three weeks apart.

“The Health Department encourages everyone to get the H1N1 flu vaccine to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or spreading the disease to others” said Dr. Helene Calvet, City Health Officer. Vaccine is free of charge due to the availability of federal grant funding.

The Health Department has given more than 16,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine since November. In addition to that, more than 100,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine was supplied to about 200 private providers and clinics in Long Beach. In January, a federal program began a nationwide distribution of H1N1 flu vaccine to national pharmacy chains like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Ralph’s and Vons.

The Health Department will continue to offer free H1N1 flu vaccine at the immunization clinic located at 2525 Grand Avenue. Clinic hours vary each week and an appointment is required. To make an appointment, call 562.570.4103 between the hours of 8:30 am – 12:00 noon or 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm Mondays though Fridays. Appointments can also be scheduled online by going to http://lbdhhs.genbook.com.

The number of cases of H1N1 flu has been decreasing nationwide since December 2009. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between April and November 2009, 47 million people in the United States were infected with H1N1 flu and over 9,800 people died. In California, 461 deaths have been attributed to H1N1 flu.

Although experts cannot predict the likelihood of a future wave of H1N1 flu, they do agree that vaccination is the most important step in protecting individuals and the community from the serious complications of influenza. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and frequent hand washing, especially after you cough or sneeze, are also important ways we can all prevent the spread of influenza and viruses.

More information log on to the Health Department’s web page at www.longbeach.gov/health, or by calling 562.570.4103.

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