San Rafael, CA – It’s that time of year, and Marin County health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot. Beginning October 1 through mid-November, the County of Marin is offering opportunities for residents to receive a free flu immunization.
County-sponsored free flu shot clinics begin October 1 and continue through mid-November.
officials urge everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated early before the contagious flu virus starts circulating. The free flu vaccine clinics are a collaboration to encourage all Marin residents to get vaccinated regardless of health insurance status. Vaccines are available at doctors’ offices, and many pharmacies provide free or low-cost flu vaccinations to the public.
Flu is the leading cause of infectious-disease death in the United States. In the 2017-2018 season, flu took 80,000 American lives.
“It is so common, it’s easy to forget it can be deadly, especially for our older and more vulnerable people,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Deputy Public Health Officer. “Getting a flu shot annually is preventative medicine. If we vaccinate as a community, we are also protecting the more vulnerable such as older adults, young children, and those with certain chronic illnesses. It’s too early to say how severe our flu season will be, but one thing we know is that we’re better protected if we’re all vaccinated.
“We don’t want to lose anyone in Marin to a preventable disease.”
An additional challenge this year is making sure all Marin residents get the help they need. With the federal Public Charge rule going to effect on October 15, some residents may be concerned about seeking care, but the services at free county flu clinics would not be considered part of the new rule.
The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services will host free flu clinics at several locations in San Rafael. The nonprofit Coastal Health Alliance will host clinics at various West Marin locations, including Point Reyes Station, San Geronimo Valley, Stinson Beach, and Tomales.
- Tuesday, October 1, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, Canal Alliance, 91 Larkspur Street, San Rafael
- Sunday, October 27, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, Cardenas Market parking lot, between 330 Bellam Boulevard and 3250 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael
- Wednesday, November 13, 10:30 AM-1:00 PM, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin Free Dining Hall, 820 B Street, San Rafael
West Marin/San Geronimo Valley
- Thursday, October 10, 1:00-5:00 PM, San Geronimo Valley Community Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Geronimo
- Tuesday, October 15, 12:30-4:30 PM, Tomales Town Hall, 27150 Main Street, Tomales
- Tuesday, October 29, 1:00-4:00 PM, Point Reyes Library, 11435 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station
- Thursday, November 7, 12:00-4:00 PM, Stinson Beach Firehouse, 32 Belvedere Avenue, Stinson Beach
Flu viruses change over time, and the start of the flu season is unpredictable, making it important to get a flu vaccine early every year. Timely flu shots help prevent a disease that keeps many people home from school and work, hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. After a shot, the body works naturally to produce antibodies that will protect for the flu, which will take a few weeks.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. In most cases, people should not visit a hospital emergency room for flu symptoms but are encouraged to call a doctor. People who experience symptoms should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever goes away to prevent spreading the illness to others.
Help stop the spread of germs by practicing good hand washing and health habits. Here’s a checklist:
- Limit your contact with others, and stay home from work or school if you are ill.
- If you don’t have a tissue to cough and sneeze into, cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or arm.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Some groups may experience more severe illness and complications from the flu and should contact a health care provider immediately. The groups include pregnant women, children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 and older, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. Doctors can prescribe antiviral medications that reduce the severity and duration of illness. Anyone who is very sick should go to the emergency room for treatment.
For more information, visit marinflu.org.