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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Local, State and Federal Public Health Officials Urge Flu Vaccinations

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, December 06, 2016) - With the arrival of the flu season, the City of Berkeley Public Health Officer strongly advises residents, especially the elderly, to get their flu shots.

Each year, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.  

Although there are currently no reported flu-related deaths in Berkeley, the California Department of Public Health recently announced the first confirmed influenza death in California this season of an elderly adult and the first death of a California resident under the age of 65 years.

"A flu shot every fall is the best protection against flu infection," said Berkeley Public Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman. "The tragedy of flu-related deaths is that they are largely preventable with the flu vaccine."

In California, flu usually begins to increase in late November or December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for protection to set in. Now is the time to get vaccinated to have the best protection as the flu season begins.

A yearly flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, including pregnant women and those over 65, and it is the most important step in preventing influenza. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. Vaccinating children and young adults also provides protection to the elderly, since it decreases the number of those infected and spreading infection

In addition to getting vaccinated, Berkeley residents can take action to stop the spread of flu and other respiratory diseases:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes into the inside of your elbow or with a tissue
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Those who have health insurance (Kaiser, Med-Cal, Blue Cross Managed Care, etc.) should first check with their regular health care provider to receive the flu vaccine.

Free flu shots for community members 3 years of age and older are available during the flu season at the City of Berkeley Public Health Clinic on Mondays from 9-11am and 1-4pm. The clinic is located at 830 University Avenue. Those between 6 months and 3 years of age needing a vaccination can call 981-5300 for help locating a source.  

Contact the Public Health Division at 981-5300 for more information or check our City of Berkeley Public Health website at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/publichealth.


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