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Department of Health Services

Public Health Division

Influenza (Flu)

In the United States, yearly outbreaks of seasonal flu usually occur during the fall through early spring. Influenza or "the flu" is a serious contagious disease. As a doctor, I have seen many patients (from infants to seniors) suffer from serious flu complications. Every year in Sonoma County, flu leads to lost days at work and school, hospitalizations and even deaths.

Take the following simple actions to protect yourself and others during this flu season:

  1. Get vaccinated. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. I urge everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine this fall.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and wash your hands.
  3. Don't share personal items like toothbrushes, beverage bottles or cups.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  5. Protect others. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

By protecting yourself, you are also protecting others around you from what could be a life-threatening illness. Let's all work together to make this flu season as healthy and safe as possible for everyone.

Be well,
Celeste Philip, MD, MPH
Health Officer 

Where to Get Immunizations

Persons with health insurance, including Medicare, are encouraged to get a seasonal flu shot at their health care provider's office.

  •  You can access the Health Insurance Market Place, which has plans that cover free flu vaccines.
  • If you have no regular health care provider, please call the community clinic in your area for information about the flu shot.
  • For Kaiser Members: You can call 1800-KP-FLU-11 (800-573-5811).
  • Sutter Care at Home offers flu shot clinics, call (707) 535-5690.
  • The Health Map Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations offering flu vaccines.
  • Many local pharmacies offer the influenza vaccine. 

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Who Should Get a Flu Shot

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year to protect themselves as well as others. It is especially important that certain people be vaccinated because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for complications. This includes pregnant women, children, elderly and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, a weak immune system, morbid obesity, or younger than age 19 and on long-term aspirin therapy.

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Vaccine Information

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For Health Providers

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Guidance for Specific Groups

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Sonoma County Influenza Vaccine Partnership

The Sonoma County Influenza Vaccine Partnership distributes state and federally funded influenza vaccine to local public health centers and other eligible agencies at no charge. Partners agree to administer the vaccine according to program guidelines on appropriate use of the vaccine, proper storage and handling practices, and accurate reporting of vaccine usage.

Eligible Providers
Eligible providers include local public health centers, nonprofit organizations, and community organizations who serve clients who are low-income, under-insured or uninsured.

Ineligible Providers 
For-profit organizations, organizations with the means to purchase flu vaccine, organizations able to bill Medicare or other insurance, and organizations whose client base is fully-insured.

How to Enroll 
Email: IZNurse@sonoma-county.org by August 15th to enroll. 

Program Overview

  • State-funded influenza vaccine is primarily intended for uninsured or underinsured adults, but may also be used for persons 6 months or older with no other accessible source of flu vaccine.
  • No fee should be charged for the vaccine itself, and no more than $2.00 can be charged for vaccine administration.
  • Medical staff should exercise medical judgement in prescribing influenza immunization and screen patients for contraindications before vaccine administration.
  • Each person receiving flu vaccine should receive a copy of the Influenza Vaccine Information Statement (VIS).
  • Per California’s Mercury Law, Children under 3 years of age and women who are knowingly pregnant must be given only preservative-free vaccine.

 Record Keeping and CAIR Data Entry

  • Records of each influenza immunization given should be retained for at least three years.
  • Program participants are required to enter all doses administered into the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) database. Contact the CAIR Helpdesk CAIRHelpdesk@cdph.ca.gov or (800) 578-7889 if you do not already have an account.

Vaccine Storage and Handling

  • Influenza vaccine should be stored in a refrigerator at 2°- 8° C (36°- 46°F) where temperatures are monitored and recorded twice daily. Sites are required to use a digital data logger (DDL) for temperature monitoring.
  • Program participants must designate a Vaccine Coordinator and Backup Coordinator who are responsible for ensuring their site’s adherence to all storage and handling guidelines outlined in the EZIZ training and the CDC Vaccine Management Toolkit.
  • Sonoma County will conduct annual on-site or remote storage and handling checkups to program participants, to ensure that influenza vaccines are stored and handled according to the above standards. We are also available to assist as needed if your site encounters barriers to meeting vaccine storage and handling requirements.
  • In the event of a temperature excursion, label all exposed vaccine “DO NOT USE” and contact the manufacturer about the viability of doses.

Vaccine Pickup, Return, and Transportation

  • Program participants will be instructed on when and where to pick up influenza vaccine. Vaccine should be transported in a hard sided cooler with a data logger, ice packs, and bubble wrap to maintain temperatures within 2°- 8° C (36°- 46°F)

Resources

State:

National:

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