As we head towards flu season amid the ongoing global pandemic, public health officials strongly urge the public to get their annual flu shot.
To alleviate the stress on healthcare services, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved today Vice Chairman Andrew Do’s proposal to conduct free drive-thru flu vaccine clinics in each of the five supervisorial districts and develop a free mobile flu vaccine clinic operational plan by the end of the month.
“We’re organizing these free events to ensure everyone has access to health care,” said Supervisor Andrew Do.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the past decade, between 12,000 and 61,000 people have died annually because of complications from the flu. As of early September, a little more than 190,000 people have died due to COVID-19. Public health experts are worried that both severe illnesses occurring at once will overwhelm hospitals and first responders and result in a “twindemic” – a term referred to as having two pandemics at the same time.
“Drive-thru and mobile vaccine clinics will increase access for Orange County residents who want a flu vaccine but may be fearful of going to a doctor’s office or pharmacy to receive one,” said Supervisor Do.
According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 influenza season caused a burden higher than any season since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in the U.S. – serving as a reminder of how severe this year’s flu season can be.
“Orange County is following our public health experts in protecting our community from COVID-19,” Supervisor Andrew Do explained. “Drive-thru flu shot clinics will help us reduce flu cases, thereby alleviating the burden on our health care system and reducing the number of local hospitalizations.”
CalOptima, the county’s largest health insurer for close to half of Orange County residents, has recently launched the “Don’t Wait — Vaccinate” campaign to raise awareness among members to ensure they take advantage of no-cost services to stay current with their routine doctor visits as well as vaccine and flu shots.
Supervisor Do, as Chair of the CalOptima Board of Directors, has made access to services and resources in multiple languages as one of his top priorities. As part of today’s proposal, the Orange County Health Care Agency will also conduct a multilingual public outreach campaign to provide information to the public on how to distinguish between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.
Orange County Vice Chairman Andrew Do represents the First District communities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, and Midway City. In his second term, Vice Chairman Do has advocated for health and safety-based COVID-19 response planning, reformed Orange County’s mental health services, expanded access to health care, and led efforts to combat homelessness. Supervisor Andrew Do was one of the first officials in the state to propose a face covering mandate.