November 16, 2007

Free Flu Vaccine Clinic Announced For Fire Victims

Plaza Bonita on Nov. 17 will be first clinic to begin dispensing 10,000 doses of donated flu vaccine

The American Lung Association of California has scheduled the first vaccination clinic where people affected by recent fires can receive a free vaccine for both flu and pneumonia. On Saturday, November 17, the clinic will take place at the Plaza Bonita Mall from 10 am to 2 p.m. The address is 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City CA 91950. The vaccination clinic will be located inside the mall, near the entrance.

Thanks to donations by an informal coalition of healthcare companies, this clinic is the first of several which will be held to safeguard the health of those exposed in Southern California’s recent fires. Already, 10,000 doses of flu vaccine have been offered to California’s fire-affected counties. The Lung Association has obtained additional donations from Merck & Co. to provide pneumonia vaccine at the upcoming clinic. Vaccinations will be administered with the assistance of Passport Health.

The poor air quality due to Southern California’s devastating wildfires brings into sharp focus the importance of respiratory health. This need was quickly spotted by vaccine manufacturers, distributors, public health officials and patient advocates, leading to the vaccine donation as well as to new outreach and education that is on the way for people impacted by the recent fires and attendant smoke.

“We know that excessive exposure to smoke lessens the body’s disease fighting ability, making people more vulnerable to catching lung infections, such as the flu and pneumonia,” says Timothy Morris, MD, a pulmonary specialist with University of California San Diego and volunteer with the American Lung Association of California. “Ash particles and other pollutants can lodge deep in people’s lungs, and we want to make sure that those who have been exposed to smoke have the protection that the flu shot provides.”

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