As flu season enters peak, free shots available at Castaic Library on Saturday
By Kevin Kenney
Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Free flu shots will be available at the Castaic Library on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – days after a middle-aged Antelope Valley man became California’s first flu-related death under the age of 65 during the 2016-17 influenza season.

“As this unfortunate case illustrates, the flu can be deadly and causes thousands of fatalities each year in the United States,” Dr. Karen Smith, director and state public health officer of California’s Department of Public Health, said Thursday in announcing the death.

“Fortunately, people can get vaccinated to help keep them from getting sick and spreading the flu to others.”

Typically, the flu season peaks between December and February, Smith reported.

While Smith did not identify the flu fatality beyond saying it was a Los Angeles County resident, Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, interim director of the county health department’s acute communicable disease control program, told The Signal that it was of a middle-aged man from the Antelope Valley.

Area residents can show up at the Castaic Library, located at 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, for the free preventive shot, in a program run by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The health department has partnered with the county library system to provide free flu vaccines to people with no health insurance, or whose health-care provided does not offer such vaccines.

Health experts recommend flu shots for everyone six months of age and older, including healthy adults and pregnant women. The health department said it is particularly important for pregnant women and people 50 and older to get the vaccine.

“We know there are several influenza strains that have been identified this year – but what is more important is that all those strains are good matches for what’s in the vaccine, so the vaccine will be protective,’’ Schwartz said.

Schwartz also said that, while last year a nasal-spray vaccine was used, that was found not to be as effective as an injection – and he recommended that people not use the nasal-spray method this year.

And it’s important, he stressed, to get the shot early.

“The vaccination generally takes a couple of weeks before it becomes effective,” he said. “So we do recommend that people get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

For those who cannot make Saturday’s free clinic at the Castaic Library, the county health department offers other opportunities for free or low-cost flu shots. The times and locations of those clinics are available by calling the L.A. County Information Line at 211, or on the web here.

The county health department added this important warning: If you have a severe egg allergy or are sick the day of the clinic, check with your doctor before getting vaccinated.

According to Dr. Smith, the state health department has received 11 confirmed influenza-associated cases that required intensive-care treatment, and five influenza outbreaks in the state this year.

Each year, the state report said, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S.

“As family and friends gather during the holidays, now is an important time to get protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get vaccinated,’’ the state health department cautioned.

More info is also available at the state health department’s flu page.

kkenney@signalscv.com

(661) 287-5525

About the author

Kevin Kenney

Kevin Kenney

Over 30-plus years, Kevin Kenney has been a writer and editor for United Press International, the New York Post and Fox Sports, among other outlets. He joined The Signal in 2016.

As flu season enters peak, free shots available at Castaic Library on Saturday

Free flu shots will be available at the Castaic Library on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – days after a middle-aged Antelope Valley man became California’s first flu-related death under the age of 65 during the 2016-17 influenza season.

“As this unfortunate case illustrates, the flu can be deadly and causes thousands of fatalities each year in the United States,” Dr. Karen Smith, director and state public health officer of California’s Department of Public Health, said Thursday in announcing the death.

“Fortunately, people can get vaccinated to help keep them from getting sick and spreading the flu to others.”

Typically, the flu season peaks between December and February, Smith reported.

While Smith did not identify the flu fatality beyond saying it was a Los Angeles County resident, Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, interim director of the county health department’s acute communicable disease control program, told The Signal that it was of a middle-aged man from the Antelope Valley.

Area residents can show up at the Castaic Library, located at 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, for the free preventive shot, in a program run by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The health department has partnered with the county library system to provide free flu vaccines to people with no health insurance, or whose health-care provided does not offer such vaccines.

Health experts recommend flu shots for everyone six months of age and older, including healthy adults and pregnant women. The health department said it is particularly important for pregnant women and people 50 and older to get the vaccine.

“We know there are several influenza strains that have been identified this year – but what is more important is that all those strains are good matches for what’s in the vaccine, so the vaccine will be protective,’’ Schwartz said.

Schwartz also said that, while last year a nasal-spray vaccine was used, that was found not to be as effective as an injection – and he recommended that people not use the nasal-spray method this year.

And it’s important, he stressed, to get the shot early.

“The vaccination generally takes a couple of weeks before it becomes effective,” he said. “So we do recommend that people get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

For those who cannot make Saturday’s free clinic at the Castaic Library, the county health department offers other opportunities for free or low-cost flu shots. The times and locations of those clinics are available by calling the L.A. County Information Line at 211, or on the web here.

The county health department added this important warning: If you have a severe egg allergy or are sick the day of the clinic, check with your doctor before getting vaccinated.

According to Dr. Smith, the state health department has received 11 confirmed influenza-associated cases that required intensive-care treatment, and five influenza outbreaks in the state this year.

Each year, the state report said, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S.

“As family and friends gather during the holidays, now is an important time to get protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get vaccinated,’’ the state health department cautioned.

More info is also available at the state health department’s flu page.

kkenney@signalscv.com

(661) 287-5525

About the author

Kevin Kenney

Kevin Kenney

Over 30-plus years, Kevin Kenney has been a writer and editor for United Press International, the New York Post and Fox Sports, among other outlets. He joined The Signal in 2016.

Upcoming Events

Jan
12
Fri
all-day Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Jan 12 – May 11 all-day
Domes - Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Local resident Naomi Young, is the artist featured in the latest exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library. The exhibit features original paintings and multimedia by Young, an artist born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel,[...]
Feb
1
Thu
all-day “The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
Feb 1 – Jun 1 all-day
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarita,” Art Exhibit @ Valencia Library  | Santa Clarita | California | United States
“THE GOLDEN OAKS OF SANTA CLARITA” ART EXHIBIT BY BRAD SERGI ON DISPLAY AT THE VALENCIA LIBRARY Library hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5[...]
Feb
14
Wed
all-day Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Feb 14 – May 12 all-day
Tickets Available Now for 41st Annual SCV Dodger Day @ Dodger Stadium | Los Angeles | California | United States
SANTA CLARITA DODGER DAY TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets Start at $25 and Benefit Local Schools and Non-Profits It’s time to step up to the plate! The Santa Clarita City Council invites residents to purchase[...]
Apr
19
Thu
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
Apr
20
Fri
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 20 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
21
Sat
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 21 – Apr 24 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
10:00 am Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Local Group Astronomy Club and The Santa Clarita Public Library present our free annual Astronomy Day Celebration. We will be at the Valencia branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library from 10am to 3pm.[...]
10:00 am Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222 | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting.  There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.  Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with[...]
10:00 am The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Annual California Poppy Festival, Sat & Sun @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park | Lancaster | California | United States
On April 21 and 22, the City of Lancaster will host the 27th annual California Poppy Festival™ at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park (43063 10th Street West). Drawing more than 40,000 attendees and spanning 35[...]