When the cooler weather arrives, those pesky respiratory viruses seem to come back to haunt us. The Lassen County Public Health Department holds several flu vaccination clinics around the county, and contrary to rumors circulating around town, the county continues to offer COVID boosters.
COVID booster shots
COVID booster shots are available by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Lassen County Public Health Department, 1445 Paul Bunyan Road. Call (530) 251-8183 to make an appointment for a COVID booster.
Lassen County Health Department Flu Shot Clinics
The Lassen County Health Department offers several flu vaccination clinics across Lassen County.
Flu vaccine information from the Centers for Disease Control
According to the CDC, “Everyone 6 months and older in the United States should get an influenza vaccine every season with rare exception. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this ‘universal’ recommendation since the 2010-2011 flu season. Vaccination to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.
Despite the many benefits offered by flu vaccination, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control. During an average flu season, the flu can cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths. Many more people could be protected from flu if more people got vaccinated.
Lassen County Department of Health Flu Vaccination Clinics
Jensen Hall at the Lassen County Fairgrounds
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4
Spalding Community Center
9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6
Big Valley Health Center
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11
Lassen Life Skills
10 a.m. to noon Friday, Oct. 13
1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 18
Fort Sage Wellness Center
9 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20
Doyle Community Center
1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20
Eagle Lake Village
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 25
Westwood Wellness Center
1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27
Information from the CDC
How effective is the seasonal flu shot?
Influenza vaccine effectiveness can vary. The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies from season to season and depends in part on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or “match” between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation. During years when the flu vaccine match is good, it is possible to measure substantial benefits from flu vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness and complications. However, the benefits of flu vaccination will still vary, depending on characteristics of the person being vaccinated (for example, their health and age), what flu viruses are circulating that season and, potentially, which type of flu vaccine was used.
Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2019-2020, the last flu season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.
During seasons when flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 to 60 percent.
Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
A 2021 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients had a 26 percent lower risk of intensive care unit admission and a 31 percent lower risk of death from flu compared with those who were unvaccinated.
A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent four fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2019-2020 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an ICU with flu by 82 percent.
A 2017 study found that during 2009-2016, flu vaccines reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalization among older adults by about 40 percent on average.
A 2014 study showed that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by 74 percent during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with certain chronic health conditions.
Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who have had a cardiac event in the past year.
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of a flu-related worsening of chronic lung disease (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease requiring hospitalization).
Among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease,flu vaccination has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations from a worsening of their chronic condition.
Flu vaccination during pregnancy helps protect pregnant women from flu during and after pregnancy and helps protect their infants from flu in their first few months of life.
A 2013 study showed that during the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 flu seasons vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant people by about one-half.
A 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant person’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent from 2010-2016.
A number of studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant people from flu, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu for several months after birth, when babies are too young to be vaccinated.
Flu vaccine can be lifesaving in children.
A 2022 study showed that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of severe life-threatening influenza by 75 percent.
A 2020 study found that during the 2018-2019 flu season, flu vaccination reduced flu-related hospitalization by 41 percent and flu-related emergency department visits by half among children (aged 6 months to 17 years old).
A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce children’s risk of dying from flu.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
Different influenza vaccines are approved for use in people in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components.
Lassen News Publisher Sam Williams takes advantage of the Lassen County Public Health Department’s Drive-Through Flu Vaccination Clinic every year. While he recognizes there are a variety of opinions regarding vaccinations and he totally supports the notion of choice when it comes to vaccinations, he still encourages the public to get vaccinated against the flu. File photo