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Your Health
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Santa Barbara County Public Health Holding Free Flu Shot Clinic in Goleta

The Santa Barbara Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Medical Reserve Corps are holding a free flu shot clinic in Goleta this week and urge people to get vaccinated for the flu season, which peaks between December and February. 

The clinic, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., will have flu shots available to community members aged 3 and older. 

It's the only free flu clinic scheduled by the Public Health Department this year, said Susan Klein-Rothschild, deputy director of the Public Health Department.

County health officials urge residents to receive an annual flu vaccine to fight the contagious respiratory illness, and the flu-related complications that could result in hospitalization and sometimes death.

“While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another,” Klein-Rothschild said.

“This year, flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months, with influenza activity often starting to increase in October and November.

Flu activity peaks between December and February and can last until late-May, according to the CDC.

The CDC conducts annual studies to determine the benefits of seasonal flu vaccination to help determine how well flu vaccines are working.

Last year, the vaccine was 42 percent effective, according to the CDC.

Santa Barbara Public Health Department officials are collaborating with the city of Goleta to familiarize residents with the mass vaccination clinic operation and improve the county’s ability to respond to public health emergencies. Funds come from the federal Center for Disease Control Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.

Klein-Rothschild said an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and family members from the flu.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications,” Klein-Rothschild said.

She noted a 2017 study from Pediatrics that showed the flu vaccination “significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.”

More than 200,000 U.S. residents are hospitalized from flu complications annually, and about 36,000 people die from the flu each year, according to the county Public Health Department.

For more information about Santa Barbara County clinics, visit the Public Health website here or call the Santa Barbara County Immunization Program at 805.346.8420.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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