School Immunization Requirement Changes

A number of changes are coming to the California school immunization requirements. Although the changes become effective July 1st, 2019, it’s not too early to start preparing.

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, changes to the California school immunization requirement regulations include, but are not limited to:

• Requiring 2 (rather than 1) doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine at

  • Kindergarten entry

  • 7th grade advancement

  • K-12 admission or transfer

• Requiring 2 MMR doses and 3 Hepatitis B vaccine doses at admission or transfer more uniformly throughout K-12 (age restrictions are removed)

• Medical exemptions for new admissions may be signed only by a California-licensed MD/DO

• Each temporary medical exemption may be issued for no more than 12 months

Please watch for updates at www.shotsforschool.org

Best Time for Flu Shot

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people are strongly advised to get a flu vaccine before the end of October. Since the vaccination takes two weeks after administration to begin providing protection, it is recommended that people get the vaccination sooner rather than later, as the flu season usually begins to pick up by the end of October. 
While any of the approved flu vaccinations offer protection against the virus, there are some formulations that offer protection against more strains. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Trivalent vaccines protect against three strains of the virus, while quadrivalent vaccines protect against a fourth additional strain. We carry the quadrivalent vaccine to provide our patients with the most protection from the flu.

For the 2017-2018 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during 2017-2018. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Schedule your flu shot with us today!

Hepatitis A Outbreak

San Diego is experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak.  Here’s what you need to know about the disease.  It can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.

What is the source of the outbreak?

Since early 2017, the Public Health Services Division, in the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, has been investigating a local Hepatitis A outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing. It has been challenging because of the long incubation period of the disease (15 to 50 days) and the difficulty experienced to contact many individuals sickened with the illness who are homeless and/or illicit drug users. To date, no common source of food, beverage, or other cause has been identified; as a result, the source of the outbreak remains undetermined.

How many people have been affected?

So far, there have been 312 people affected by the local outbreak.  Unfortunately, 10 people have died and 215 people have been hospitalized.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus, which is highly contagious. It can cause liver disease, lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting months. In some cases, people can die.

How Is It Transmitted?

Hepatitis A virus is usually transmitted by:

  • Touching objects or eating food that someone with Hepatitis A infection handled.
  • Having sex with someone who has a Hepatitis A infection.

Take CDC’s Hepatitis Risk Assessment and get a personalized report in 5 minutes.

What Are the Symptoms?

Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. Some people get Hepatitis A and have no symptoms of the diseases. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea.

How Can Hepatitis A Be Prevented?

  • Get two shots of the Hepatitis A vaccine six months apart. The vaccine may be given as a twin vaccine against both Hepatitis A and B.
  • Don’t have sex with someone who has Hepatitis A infection.
  • Use your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils.
  • Don’t share food, drinks, or smokes with other people.

Who Should Get the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

  • Individuals who are homeless.
  • Individuals who work with homeless and/or users of illegal drugs.
  • Travelers to countries with high or medium rates of Hepatitis A virus.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
  • Individuals with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
  • Anyone who is concerned about Hepatitis A virus exposure and wants to be immune.
  • Persons with clotting factor disorders.

Note: individuals with chronic liver disease (i.e., cirrhosis and hepatitis C) may not be at increased risk of getting HAV infections but are at increased risk of having poor outcomes if they are infected with HAV.

We have the Hepatitis A vaccine in stock and can provide it for you without a prescription.  Our pharmacist will write the prescription and administer the vaccine in one quick visit.  Book your appointment today!

 

Here’s a video about the local outbreak:

 

9 Reasons To Get This Year’s Flu Vaccine

It’s that time of year again!  Time to gear up for the cold and flu season.  The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu infection and its potential health consequences.

  1. This year’s vaccine should be more EFFECTIVE than last year’s.  Last year, there were two strains — one Influenza A and one Influenza B — that evolved after the vaccine was made.  So the vaccine was only effective in 20-25% of cases.  In the few years before last year, the vaccine was effective in around 50% of cases.  We expect to go back to that this year.  We wish it was 100% effective of course.  But wouldn’t you rather prevent 50% of cases of a potentially deadly infection than none?
  2. Young and old most VULNERABLE.  Children and young adults below age 20, along with older adults above age 80, have the highest rates of the flu.Flu Vaccine Young Old Choose Control
  3. Flu KILLS.  People who die from the flu almost always have an underlying medical condition.  Women may be more likely to die from the flu than men.
  4. Everyone 6 months old and older SHOULD get the flu vaccine every year.  This hasn’t always been the case since recommendations have changed.  Infants younger than 6 months will be protected if everyone they have contact with is vaccinated.  The immunity you got from last year’s vaccine has faded over time and you have to get a vaccine again this year.  The vaccine usually changes every year.  There are new flu strains added to the vaccine every year based on what is most likely to be spread that year.  Not enough people are getting this vaccine.  Only 50% of American children and 70% of American adults age 65 and older got the vaccine last year.Flu Vaccine
  5. The vaccine does NOT cause the flu.  It can cause some side effects, like soreness where the injection was given, a fever, coughing, headache, or fatigue.  A severe allergic reaction is very rare — about 1 in 1,000,000 doses — and warrants immediate medical attention.  It takes about 2 weeks for your immune system to respond to the vaccine and fully protect you, so get the vaccine as soon as you can — ideally by October.
  6. Very FEW people should not get the vaccine.  If you have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, you should not get the flu vaccine.  If you’ve had a severe allergy to any component of the flu vaccine, you shouldn’t get it.  Otherwise, get it!  If you have a fever or aren’t feeling well, wait until you’re feeling better to get it.  Some of the vaccines have a small amount of egg protein, so if you are allergic to eggs let your healthcare prover know so they can be sure to give you a vaccine that is safe for you.  People who can’t get the vaccine for safety reasons rely on everyone else to get it and keep them protected.
  7. PREGNANT women should get the vaccine.  Pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness due to the flu.  The flu vaccine is an essential element of preconception, prenatal, and postpartum care, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  The vaccine not only protects the mother, but also protects the newborn baby in the first months of life.Flu Vaccine Pregnant Pregnancy Choose Control
  8. Vaccines do NOT cause autism.  I’m not going to get into this issue because you can read all about it from the experts: CDC summary, CDC studies, and American Academy of Pediatrics recent statement.
  9. You have OPTIONS when it comes to the flu vaccines.  There are many different products available, ranging from shots to nasal mists.  You can also visit your doctor’s office or local pharmacy at your convenience to get your flu shot.  The vaccine is typically free with your insurance or from a community-based program.  Worst case, you may have to pay a small fee of about $20 for the vaccine.Flu Vaccine Nasal Flumist

For more information, check out the CDC website for this year’s flu season.


Photos by Seth Capitulo, Anil Jadhav, Tobias Lindman, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District via Flickr