(Santa Ana, CA) – With flu season now upon us, the OC Health Care Agency is already anticipating the potentially devastating effects of a double whammy of influenza and COVID-19 cases hitting in the fall and winter months and urges everyone to get a flu shot.
“Even if you never get a flu shot, it’s absolutely vital that you take this important step to make sure we don’t overburden our health system,” said OC Board of Supervisor Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Second District. “It is essential that we all take the necessary precautions to avoid an outbreak of the flu as we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County wants to make sure every community has easy access to get a flu shot.”
Recognizing all of the things that people are worried about such as paying bills and dealing with the stress of social isolation due to COVID-19, the County is launching a flu vaccine campaign designed to encourage people to get their flu shot so they have one less thing to think about. The tag line is “Don’t worry about the flu, too” and drives people to the url: ochealthinfo.com/getyourflushot.
“Orange County is following our public health experts’ advice in protecting our community from COVID-19 and this upcoming flu season,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “To help provide early vaccines, which may potentially be scarce during this pandemic, the County of Orange will host free drive-thru and mobile flu vaccine clinics in each of the five supervisorial districts.”
According to a Centers for Disease Control study of the 2018-19 flu season, of people 19 and older,
48.7% of White people received flu shots, while only 39.4% of Black people and 37.1% of Hispanics received the vaccine. 44% of Asian people were vaccinated. A study conducted in Orange County of the 2015-16 flu season produced very similar breakdowns in people vaccinated.
Third District Supervisor Donald P. Wagner said, “Our Board of Supervisors is pleased to be able to provide the flu shot free to anyone in the County who doesn’t have health insurance. It’s critically important that we protect everyone from a potential ‘twindemic,’ where COVID-19 and flu cases collide.”
The flu vaccine will be available as a shot or mist form at the Family Health Clinics by appointment only 8 – 11:30 a.m. and 1- 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Clinics are closed 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. People who live in the County should call 1-800-914-4887 for an appointment. There will also be flu pop-up clinics throughout the community that will be listed on the ochealthinfo.com/getyourflushot website.
Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee added, “We know there are some people who never get flu shots for various reasons. We are really emphasizing the need to do it this year. It’s rarely been as important.”
Outdoor boards, digital web banners and :15 PSA videos in English, Spanish and Vietnamese will be used to spread the message about the free Health Care Agency flu clinics. Additionally, the OC Health Care Agency is sponsoring an Estrella drive-in movie on September 18 to support the flu vaccine message with outdoor banners and :15 PSA video in Spanish.
“The similarities in symptoms between the flu and COVID-19 are startling,” said Fifth District Supervisor Lisa A. Bartlett. “Our website features a lot of important resources about the similarities and differences between the two illnesses as well as treatment and prevention. In order to mitigate the spread of the flu, I urge people to read these materials and get the shot as soon as possible!”
Downloadable social media assets for Facebook and Twitter will be available for anyone to use and share at www.ochealthinfo.com/getyourflushot.
“Cooler weather is coming, and we know that when people spend more time indoors and have closer contact with each other, germs spread much more quickly,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, Director of the OC Health Care Agency and County Health Officer. “It is critical that everyone over 6 months old get a flu shot to decrease the incidence of influenza in the community and to ease the stress on the healthcare system when both viruses are likely to be circulating.”
To find out more about the flu vaccine, go to ochealthinfo.com/getyourflushot.