Healthy Choices

Free flu shots Tuesday at Kaiser in Sacramento

Damatrius Jones, 8, of Sacramento, and his mother Joan Phillips wait in line to get their flu vaccine during a Kaiser Permanente free flu clinic in Sacramento on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Demand soared last year after a higher rate of fatalities from the flu.
Damatrius Jones, 8, of Sacramento, and his mother Joan Phillips wait in line to get their flu vaccine during a Kaiser Permanente free flu clinic in Sacramento on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Demand soared last year after a higher rate of fatalities from the flu. hamezcua@sacbee.com

By this time last year, Sacramento County flu deaths had reached such an alarming level that a single, one-day, free flu-shot clinic drew an astounding 1,260 people lining up to get immunized at Kaiser Permanente’s Point West Medical Offices near Cal Expo. The crowd easily tripled the 400 or so customers the health network had expected.

Kaiser Permanente officials said they’d welcome a repeat, robust turnout Tuesday when they offer free immunization against the flu at the same medical center. Again, the event will feature a special appearance by one of the Sacramento Kings players – this year, small forward Rudy Gay.

Accompanied by the Sacramento Kings dancers and Slamson, Gay will sign autographs from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for the first 150 people seeking them. Last year, Kaiser enticed people to show up by scheduling an appearance by Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas.

Kaiser Permanente and the Kings have forged a mutually beneficial partnership, with Kaiser physicians serving as team doctors for the Kings.

The free flu-shot clinic will be 3 to 5 p.m. at the vast health system’s Point West Medical Offices at 1650 Response Road in Sacramento (across from Cal Expo).

Dr. Rob Azevedo is the physician-in-chief for Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento, and he said Kaiser “has a responsibility to play a leading role in improving the health of our communities by not only increasing awareness of the importance of immunizations, but also offering them at no cost to people who might otherwise not get vaccinated.

Each year in the United States, the flu takes more lives than measles, tuberculosis and pertussis (whooping cough) combined, killing thousands of people annually.

Meanwhile, the recent nationwide spread of measles cases originating at Disneyland is igniting debate among those who support immunization and those who do not.

Still, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the flu vaccine as the most effective way to ward off the potentially deadly virus. Granted, they said, mutations in the virus most prominent this season has rendered the vaccines less effective than in past years. Still, immunization does offer some protection – and it may just be all any given individual needs.

Call The Bee’s Cynthia H. Craft, (916) 321-1270.

Free flu-shot clinic

When: Tuesday, 3 to 5 p.m.

Where: Kaiser Permanente Point West Medical Offices, 1650 Response Road, Sacramento, 95815 (across Exposition Boulevard from Cal Expo).

Cost: Free. Individuals need not be Kaiser members to get immunizations.

Other: Autographs to first 150 people from Sacramento Kings small forward Rudy Gay. Slamson and Kings dancers will also be on hand.

  Comments