October 3, 2022

Flu shots save lives and offer proven protection

Black people, Latinos, and people over 65 years of age are especially vulnerable to catching influenza.

It’s that time of the year again when eligible people should be getting their flu shot to better protect themselves against influenza. People should also get their COVID-19 vaccination or booster as well.

“It has been recognized for many years that in addition to African Americans, people age 65 and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu,” said Elizabeth Hudson, DO, regional chief of Infectious Diseases with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California.

“The flu vaccine gives our most vulnerable populations a better immune response to infection, and therefore, better protection. Additionally, we also offer a high-dose vaccine specifically for those age 65 and older,” said Dr. Hudson. “These shots can offer greater protection to older people, who, due to immune system changes that happen with age, do not have as strong a response to regular flu vaccination as younger, healthy people.”

Kaiser Permanente member Annette Kelton visited the Panorama City Medical Center’s drive-thru flu clinic for her annual vaccine.

Kaiser Permanente member Annette Kelton visited the Panorama City Medical Center’s drive-thru flu clinic for her annual vaccine.

An August 2021 study of racial and ethnic disparities in severe flu-related outcomes across 10 flu seasons by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed non-Hispanic Black people in every age group, and Hispanic or Latino people age 5 and older, were more likely to be hospitalized with flu than non-Hispanic white people. This study also showed that people living in high-poverty areas were at higher risk for severe outcomes from flu. This suggests that socioeconomic status may be related to higher flu-related hospitalization rates among these groups. These findings also suggest that targeted prevention through education and proactive vaccination programs could reduce health inequities among these groups.

The most effective primary prevention against contracting the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Kaiser Permanente currently has seasonal flu clinics available throughout Southern California, and urges all members, staff, and physicians to get no-cost vaccinations early.

During the 2021 flu season, Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center administered 106,775 flu vaccines and we hope to surpass that figure during this flu season.

To provide convenient access to flu vaccinations, the Panorama City Medical Center has drive-up and walk-in flu clinics and offers high-dose flu shots for eligible members. Get your flu shot at a location near you, including medical offices in North Hollywood, Mission Hills, Santa Clarita, and Panorama City.