Ventura County Public Health reports increase in flu cases, rise in demand for influenza vaccine
The nation’s widespread outbreak of the flu has caused an increase in flu cases in California and a sudden surge in demand for the flu vaccine in Ventura County. Ventura County’s Public Health (VCPH) Department reports that the phones have been busier than normal with people calling in to find out where and when they can get a flu shot.
According to a report received today from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), flu levels in California are now significantly higher than what is normally expected this time of year. Over the past week, flu levels across the state have jumped up by ten percent.
“This year’s vaccine is a good match for the flu strains that are circulating so we encourage everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to get a flu shot now and protect themselves.” said Dr. Paul Russell, Deputy Health Officer for Ventura County Public Health. “It is especially important for those who are the most vulnerable to be vaccinated - the very young, very old and those with chronic illness.”
Ventura County Public Health clinics are offering flu vaccines for people of all ages on a first come, first served basis during normal business hours at their four Public Health clinic locations. Hours are 8:30 – 11:30 am and 1 – 4:30 PM and shots are offered on the days indicated:
South Oxnard Public Health: Centerpoint Mall, 2500 South C St. Suite B-1, Oxnard (Mon – Fri)
North Oxnard Public Health 2240 E. Gonzalez Rd., Suite 140, Oxnard (Tues. & Thurs.)
Ventura Public Health 3147 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura (Mon., Tues., Wed. & Fri.)
Simi Valley Public Health 1133-B E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley (Mon., Wed. & Fri.)
Vaccine will also be available through the Ventura County Health Care Agency’s Ambulatory Care clinics in January, as follows:
Las Posas Family Medical Group 3801 Las Posas Road, Suite 214, Camarillo, Wednesdays, January 16, 23, 30 and February 6, 13, 20, 27, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Las Islas Urgent Care 325 W. Channel Islands Blvd., Oxnard, Tues, Jan 15, 29, 8:00-11:00 am
Santa Paula Medical Clinic 1334 E. Main Street, Santa Paula, Wednesdays, Jan 23 and Feb 13, 27, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Sierra Vista Family Medical Clinic 1227 E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley, Fridays, January 18, 25, 8:00 am – 11:00 am & 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Conejo Valley Family Medical Group 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Ste. 300, Thousand Oaks, Wednesdays, January 16, 30 and February 13, 27, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
West Ventura Medical Clinic 133 W. Santa Clara Street, Ventura, Wed, Jan 23, 8:30am-4:30pm
Ventura County Health Care Agency Ambulatory clinics require no appointment, welcome walk-in patients during the hours listed and accept the following insurances: Self-Pay Discount Program, Medi-Cal, ACE for Adults and ACE for Kids, VFC, Gateway/CHDP, VCHCP, Gold Coast Health Plan, Valley Care Select IPA, as well as contracted HMOs and contracted PPOs. Flu vaccine costs range from $0 - $30, depending on type of vaccine, insurance, and qualifying programs.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older, including pregnant women. Healthy people between two and 49 years of age, who are not pregnant, may opt for the nasal spray flu vaccine instead of the shot. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
In addition to becoming vaccinated, VCPH officials remind people that the easiest and best way to protect yourself from the flu and other viruses is to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Once you become sick with the flu or other respiratory illness, the best advice is to stay home, cover a cough or sneeze by using an elbow or a tissue and then properly disposing the used tissue and wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with eyes, nose and mouth.
For more information about flu shot availability, call the Ventura County Public Health clinic appointment desk at: 805-981-5221 or visit vchca.org/2012-seasonal-flu.
You can also try your local drugstore, like CVS and Walgreens. Most insurance plans cover all or a large portion of the cost of the flu vaccine. Here's a handy flu shot finder: flushot.healthmap.org courtesy of www.flu.gov.