Influenza season 2013 hasn’t started yet, but people are taking steps to stop it before it arrives.
More than 25,000 patients received flu vaccinations in the first two weeks of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s special flu clinics. On average, PAMF medical teams are administering an estimated 2,700 flu shots at its Bay Area centers.
To meet demand, PAMF is holding weekend Flu Express clinics at most of its locations throughout the region. Since 2006, the Mountain View Center has hosted a drive-thru vaccine clinic, which is particularly popular with older adults, parents with small children and those with limited mobility. An estimated 400 patients received their annual flu vaccine the first day of this year’s drive-thru flu clinic.
In the U.S., flu shots are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. The flu can be a serious illness, especially in young children, pregnant women, adults aged 65 and over, and those with underlying health conditions.
October is a good time to get the flu vaccine, according to PAMF officials, as seasonal flu outbreaks typically peak sometime between December and March.
“Numbers of people getting the vaccine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation may be up slightly, possibly related to the harsh flu season we had last year as well as interest in the new quadrivalent flu vaccines,” said Charles Weiss, M.D., chairman of PAMF’s Infectious Diseases Committee.
This year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a quadrivalent (four-virus) flu vaccine. The single vaccine offers protection against four different influenza viruses: two A viruses and two B viruses. Combined, the influenza A and B viruses cause the majority of influenza illness every year in the U.S.
In addition to regular adult and pediatric quadrivalent flu-shot vaccines, PAMF offers high-dose (for adults 65 and older) and Flu Mist nasal (healthy persons 2-49 years old) flu formulations.
Hours are posted online for flu clinics scheduled at PAMF’s centers in Los Altos and Mountain View.
For more information, visit pamf.org.