Where to get free to low cost flu shots

Saturday: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until supply runs out. Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, 400 N. Pepper Ave., Colton

Monday: From 9 to 11 a.m. Grand Terrace Senior Center, 22627 Grand Terrace Road, Grand Terrace

Tuesday: From 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Trona Community Center, 13187 Market St., Trona

Oct. 20: 8 a.m. until noon, or until supply runs out, parking lot at 360 Vinton Ave., two blocks away from Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and across the street from the hospital's Lewis Family Cancer Care Center. Drive-thru clinic is for those age 50 or older. Wear a short-sleeved shirt.

Public health officials are urging everyone six months or older to get a flu vaccine this year.

Because last year was a relatively mild flu season, San Bernardino County Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhaure and others are concerned that some will not want a flu shot this year.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a goal of 80 percent immunization rate across the country, although newly released statistics for last year's season showed an immunization rate of only 42 percent.

Dr. Michael Siegel, medical director of Long Beach-based Molina Healthcare, and other doctors note that expanded guidelines for who should get a flu shot now include "just about everyone who has a heartbeat."

This includes pregnant women and people who say "'I never get sick,"' said Siegel.The flu season begins in October and ends in May, according to the CDC.

This year's flu shot has two strains, which were not part of last year's version.

Although last year's flu season was "very mild," officials are reluctant to predict what will happen this year.

"Expect anything in flu season," Ohikhaure said.

Siegel said that it especially important for everyone living in a household with small children to get immunized.

"Kids are breeding grounds for flu," Siegel said. Because their immune systems are not fully developed, "they shed the virus longer and in greater amounts than adults," he said.

There is an abundant supply of flu vaccine this season and there are many opportunities for people to get immunizations today that are either free or available for a very nominal charge, Ohikhaure said.


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