Flu Vaccine

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Don’t Panic Over Flu — But Do Get A Flu Shot, Say Experts

The states colored brown in this map from the Centers for Disease Control shows where flu activity is widespread. You see that California is currently seeing “regional” activity.

(Centers for Disease Control)

If you’re worried about contracting the flu, the CDC says that an annual flu vaccine “is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others.” The CDC recommends everyone over age 6 months go ahead and get the shot. Today in a release, Dr. Ron Chapman of the California Department of Public Health also urged Californians to be vaccinated. Continue reading

Some Counties Requiring Health Workers to Get Flu Vaccine

Goal is patient protection; unvaccinated workers may have to wear masks around patients

By Katharine Mieszkowski, The Bay Citizen

(USACE Europe District/Flickr)

(USACE Europe District/Flickr)

In an effort to prevent health care workers from spreading the flu to patients this winter, county health officials are mandating that medical staff around the Bay Area receive vaccinations or wear a surgical mask on the job.

Health officials say flu vaccination rates among health care workers are dangerously low – 60 percent [PDF] of those working in California hospitals received the vaccine in the 2010-11 flu season, according to the most recent data available from the California Department of Public Health.

Officials hope the requirements will help prevent the spread of the virus to patients most vulnerable to its life-threatening complications, particularly the elderly, whose weakening immune systems may render the flu vaccine less effective.

However, county health officers say they have few resources to enforce the new orders, leaving it up to the discretion of hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers and other health care facilities to make sure their staffs are vaccinated.

Nationally, this year’s flu season has started early and may be shaping up to be a bad one, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those locally requiring vaccination or masks this year are health officials in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties. Scattered counties around the state are doing the same. Continue reading