Doctors recommend flu shots to protect against illness

FRESNO, Calif.

Vaccination clinics are opening around the Valley and medical experts agree the best weapon is protection.

Kaiser staff members are becoming patients this week to set a good example for their own patients.

They're rolling up their sleeves to get a flu shot to protect themselves against the illness.

Registered Nurse Anna Benedictos says prevention is the key to keeping the flu season under control.

"The health care providers in adult medicine are the first line that the patients run into when they get their health care. It's very important that we ourselves prevent patients from getting sick or from contracting the flu," Benedictos said.

Starting Monday, this tent outside Kaiser's Northeast Fresno facility will open to members, offering free flu shots.

Last year, Kaiser immunized 40,000 adults and children in Fresno, alone and this year, doctors and nurses are hoping to match or exceed that number.

Dr. Shahzad Jahromi says vaccination clinics are one of the best ways to make it convenient for people to get the shot or nasal spray that can last for months.

"It would take approximately 2 weeks before your body starts forming antibodies against the flu," Jahromi said. "And it should last the whole flu season, more than 6 months. But we do recommend if you get a flu shot this year, you should get a flu shot every year."

At Kaiser Permanente, efficiency is key to encourage as many members as possible to get vaccinated. It's recommended you wear short sleeves when you get your shot and bring a photo id and membership card to get you through the process.

While doctors recommend most people get the flu shot, the most vulnerable to the illness are children, older adults and those with chronic conditions.

They also expect plenty of vaccine to go around. One dose of prevention that can last all season.

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