- Timing of Flu Shots
- Where to Get Immunized
- “High Dose/Senior” Flu Shots
- Who Should Get Immunized
- Flu Shot and COVID19 Pandemic
Redwood Coast Medical Services (RCMS) will be providing influenza vaccines (flu shots) to our community this 2020/2021 influenza season — in the form of socially distanced flu shot clinics, as well as through appointments in all of our three clinics.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED TIMING FOR THE FLU SHOTS?
You will see commercial pharmacies offering flu shots starting in August. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even in light of the COVID19 pandemic, recommends NOT getting the flu shot until September or October, due to the risk that immunity will be lost later in the peak of flu season.
The only exception are children under the age of 8 receiving the flu shot for the first time; they should get the shot as soon as it becomes available, then a booster 4 weeks later. RCMS (and all other medical facilities) order their flu shots in January, in anticipation of a September/October delivery. The arrival of our shots — some purchased from private distributors and some provided by the Mendocino and Sonoma Health Departments — is expected by early to mid-October, well within the CDC’s recommended immunization timeframe.
WHERE TO GET FLU IMMUNIZED?
RCMS will be offering socially distanced flu shot clinics and scheduled appointments for shots, once these become available, likely early to mid-October. We will announce when our shots are available on our webpage, through social media and other media outlets.
Our local pharmacies will also be able to provide flu shots with a prescription from your RCMS provider or other health care provider. Finally, commercial pharmacies outside of our rural area can provide them without a prescription.
DOES RCMS OFFER THE “HIGH DOSE” FLU SHOT FOR PEOPLE 65 AND OVER?
RCMS does not have access to this shot, and will therefore be providing the normal-dose quadrivalent flu vaccine, which is also acceptable to patients 65 and over. The high dose shot, which is felt to provide slightly increased immunity, is available at commercial pharmacies at an increased cost.
WHO SHOULD GET IMMUNIZED?
Getting influenza immunized is strongly recommended — especially for persons at increased risk of bad outcomes with the flu (children between 6 months and five years of age; pregnant women; persons (and family members of persons) with lung, heart and kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, immunosuppressive, and other chronic illnesses. Getting immunized helps create herd immunity as well — reducing the overall spread of the illness through our families and community.
IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET FLU IMMUNIZED DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC?
YES! While the flu vaccine will not prevent the spread of COVID19, it will reduce the presence of respiratory illness in our community, and the extreme health risk of the one-two punch of getting influenza and COVID19 back to back. Lack of available and timely COVID19 testing is also a challenge — so preventing the confusion of which illness a person might have (influenza or COVID19) by preventing one of these illnesses will reduce the strain these illnesses create, for patients, their families/caregivers, work places and healthcare facilities. Please help create personal and herd immunity in your community this year — and get influenza immunized.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm
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