Kaiser Permanente increases access to free vaccinations.
PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California seasonal flu clinics open September 23rd. Vaccines are available to all Kaiser Permanente members at no cost. This year, in order to increase access to the vaccine, Kaiser Permanente members will be able to get their shots at more convenient locations than ever — at physicians’ offices, at drive-through flu shot clinics, in pharmacies, at optometry offices, and at walk-in flu clinics.
“The flu is a highly contagious and debilitating respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, hospitalizations and, in some cases, even lead to death,” said Margaret Khoury, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist and regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program. “When we receive our annual flu shot, we greatly lower our risk of catching the flu, developing flu-related complications, visits to doctors, and missed school or work days due to illness. That’s why getting a flu vaccine is the most important step we can all take to stay well and protect ourselves and our loved ones against the influenza virus.”
The timing of flu season is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. During the 2015-2016 flu season, influenza activity began later than usual, and continued for a longer period than was expected, peaking in mid-March. During last year’s flu season, we began seeing above baseline numbers in mid-December and they remained elevated into mid-March.
“It’s important that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their area,” said Dr. Khoury. “It can take up to two weeks for the body to develop immunity, so it’s important to vaccinate as early in the season as possible. While children, pregnant women and the elderly are more at risk for complications from the flu, it can be just as serious for healthy young adults.”
This flu season, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations, Kaiser Permanente will not offer FluMist, the nasal spray flu vaccine. Only injectable flu shots will be given.
For a complete list of clinic locations and times, and for more information about preventing or treating the flu, visit www.kp.org/flu.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.