Posts Tagged: flu vaccination
With the novel coronavirus still infecting thousands of people a day, public health officials worry that a bad flu season could overwhelm hospitals and clinics that are already stretched thin.
The best thing you can do to make sure that doesn't happen: Get a flu shot.
The flu shot is now widely available, and virtually all insurance plans cover the cost. Some health care providers are even offering the safety and convenience of getting vaccinated at an outdoor drive-up or walk-up location.
The life you save could be your own
If helping our overtaxed health care system isn't reason enough to get vaccinated, consider the fact that it could actually save your life. 34,000 people died of influenza during the 2018-2019 flu season and nearly half a million others were hospitalized.
Getting a flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from flu and its most serious complications. And it could also help ensure that you don't contract COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.
Doctors don't yet know what will happen to patients with that kind of dual diagnosis, said UC San Francisco epidemiologist George Rutherford.
What is clear is that the flu and COVID-19 both target the lung, he said.
“And to the extent that the lungs are damaged by one disease and the other one comes along and damages it more, you can get into trouble faster,” he said.
He added that it's also known that influenza can make you more susceptible to infection by other pathogens. “In fact, a lot of the deaths of the 1918 flu pandemic were probably from staphylococcal pneumonia as a superinfection on top of influenza pneumonia,” he said.
Do it for your loved ones
Still not convinced that you should get a flu shot? Think about doing it for the people you love.
Flu is highly contagious, and particularly dangerous for the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, and children. The greater the number of people who get vaccinated, the better protected these vulnerable populations will be.
“If you get influenza, you may be putting your loved ones — the very young, the very old, such as your children, parents and grandparents — at risk,” said Charles Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., an infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco.
“I think it's important to realize that taking the vaccine is not just for you, it's also to prevent spreading the virus to others. So, on a community level, the more people that are vaccinated, the fewer overall cases we're going to get.
Still not sure about getting a flu vaccine this year?
This Q&A from Nina Bai and UCSF sets the record straight on common myths. Read their full article on the flu shot here.
In a typical flu season, less than half of Americans get a flu shot, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of a preventable disease.
Some people may have doubts about vaccine efficacy. Others think the flu is no big deal. And during COVID-19, some worry about the risks of going to a doctor's office.
We asked the experts about these common concerns.
I'm not sure about getting a flu vaccine because …
1. Going to the doctor's office seems risky during COVID-19.
“The risk at a doctor's office is very likely to be much less than the risk of going out to a supermarket or a crowded location,” said Chiu. That's because health care workers are vigilant about taking the appropriate precautions. Most documented COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in gatherings where people were not adhering to standard precautions like mask wearing and social distancing. “This is exactly the opposite of a controlled situation such as the doctor's office,” said Chiu.
Experts say local pharmacies are also safe settings to get a flu shot.
Like any activity during COVID-19, it's about balancing the risks and benefits. “The benefits of getting a vaccine far outweigh the very, very low risk of one visit to a doctor's office while wearing a mask and social distancing,” said Chiu.
2. I'm already social distancing and wearing a mask, so I won't catch the flu.
It's true that your risk of catching the flu is much less if you wear a mask and social distance one hundred percent of the time, said Chiu, but “we know that people get tired of these measures” and may not always be rigorous.
As colder weather sets in, more activities will move indoors where transmission is more likely. At the same time, more states may be opening up and lifting restrictions, more people will be going back to work and kids going to back to school. “Although the risks might be low now that people are still behaving, the worry is that it's going to change,” said Chiu. “It only takes one episode where you forget to wear your mask, or choose not to, that can put you and others at risk.”
3. I heard the flu season is going to be mild this year
It's true that Australia, where the flu season peaks from June to August, has so far seen a much milder flu season, but that's likely due to social distancing, travel restrictions, and a higher than usual vaccination rate.
Those factors may not translate to the colder temperatures and variable mitigation measures across the U.S. The risk will also fall disproportionately on essential workers who don't have the luxury of sheltering at home, said Chiu.
“My worry isn't that we're going to have an overwhelming flu season,” said Chiu, “My worry is that even a mild flu season may be enough to tip our health care system over the edge.”
4. The flu vaccine isn't very effective anyway.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year depending on how closely we've guessed the strains, but we won't know the effectiveness of this year's vaccine until the flu season is over next spring, said Chiu. It's too early even to glean from the Southern hemisphere, which is still in its flu season.
“What's valuable about the vaccine is that even if it is, say, only 50 percent protective one year, it has been shown that getting the vaccine may decrease the severity of illness and your risk of being hospitalized for influenza,” said Chiu.
Besides the personal benefit, getting a flu vaccine also contributes to the wider public health effort. “I think it's important to realize that taking the vaccine is not just for you, it's also to prevent spreading the virus to others,” he said. “So on a community level, the more people that are vaccinated, the fewer overall cases we're going to get.”
5. I'm young and healthy, so the flu isn't dangerous for me.
“People die of influenza at all age groups,” said Rutherford. “It causes a lot of morbidity and mortality.”
“Even in someone who is young and healthy, influenza can put them out of work for one to two weeks because of the fever and overwhelming fatigue,” said Chiu. “It's not a disease that you want to get.”
Another reason for young people to get the flu shot, said Chiu, is to protect those who are more vulnerable. You can spread the virus to others even before you are overtly symptomatic. “If you get influenza, you may be putting your loved ones — the very young, the very old, such as your children, parents, and grandparents — at risk.”
6. The vaccine contains harmful chemicals and can cause disease.
“The components of a flu vaccine have been extensively studied and vetted by not only the CDC, but also the FDA, and the data show overwhelmingly that these vaccines are safe and effective,” said Chiu.
“Just like any vaccine, there's a possibility of some soreness or redness at the site of the shot, or low-grade fever and aches,” said Chiu. “But flu vaccines do not cause flu and they do not cause conditions like autism.”/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
To support the health and well-being of UC students, faculty and staff and our communities, the University of California, in consultation with UC Health leadership, has issued a systemwide executive order requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization before Nov. 1, 2020.
The executive order is an important proactive measure to help protect members of the UC community — and the public at large — and to ameliorate the severe burdens on health care systems anticipated during the coming fall and winter from influenza and COVID-19 illnesses.
In addition to protecting those on campuses and the surrounding communities, this requirement is designed to avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities across the state during the unprecedented public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent millions of illnesses and thousands of related medical visits every year. In recent years, flu vaccinations have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40%. Flu vaccinations also protect those around us, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
The executive order requires the vaccination for all faculty and staff who are working at a UC location. The university already has a clear policy on immunizations for students, and this action adds influenza to existing vaccination requirements for them, and extends the requirement to faculty and staff beyond those which presently exist for all UC health care workers.
A process will be put in place for faculty and staff to request medical exemptions. Requests for disability or religious accommodations will be handled through the interactive process consistent with existing location policies and procedures.
All UC medical plans which cover faculty, staff and students include coverage for flu vaccinations at no cost to those covered by the plan. In addition, for those without group health care coverage, all ACA-compliant health plans also cover flu vaccinations as part of a preventive care package that includes no copay.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the best source for information on this year's flu vaccinations and when it would be available.
Flu vaccine FAQs
UCOP has published frequently asked questions concerning the 2020-21 UC influenza vaccination order at https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions-for-employees-about-the-2020-21-uc-influenza-vaccination-order.html.
More information about the implementation of UC's requirement, and when the flu vaccination for 2020-21 is available, will be shared in the coming weeks.
UCOP Communications has learned that an outside market research firm, Consumer Evaluation & Insights, recently sent a survey about UC's flu vaccination policy to a number of UC faculty and staff with the subject line “Share your opinion on the UC Flu Vaccine requirement.” Please be aware this survey was not authorized or commissioned by UC, and you are under no obligation to complete it.
Additionally, because data from this survey is being collected by an external organization, UC cannot make any assurances regarding the use, privacy or security of any information you provide.
A month-long public awareness campaign titled "We are UC ANR" launched June 1. The campaign was designed to help those who have struggled to wrap their arms around all that UC ANR does. It features two new website products: A three-minute video that explains UC ANR's origins and current activities, and an interactive map that shows the locations of UC ANR programs across the state.
The communications team is asking everyone – UC ANR staff and academics, farmers, 4-H members, volunteers, agency representatives and all other stakeholders – to share their ANR stories through social networks, with the hashtag #WeAreUCANR. To make this easy, the team developed a toolkit that includes sample posts and tweets, images, short video trailers and messaging.
We are all problem-solvers, catalysts, collaborators, educators and stewards of the land. UC ANR is a bridge between the people of California and trusted, science-based answers to everyday questions. Please help us bring UC ANR alive to current and future stakeholders.
Macon named livestock and natural resources advisor
Daniel Macon has accepted the livestock and natural resources advisor position in Placer, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba counties, effective July 1.
Macon, who operates a small-scale commercial sheep enterprise near Auburn, brings a combination of hands-on livestock production experience and applied scientific research and education/outreach experience.
Having been the herdsman at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, and most recently serving as an associate specialist for rangeland science and management in the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department, Macon is a familiar face to many in ANR. He is currently collaborating on a variety of research efforts, including on-ranch impacts, management and planning horizons following California's historic drought. He has also led producer enrollment, data collection and grazing-water-nutrient management tracking for a statewide integrated research and extension project on irrigated pasture. He is also leading a long-term project that will quantify direct and indirect impacts from predators on rangeland livestock operations across northern California.
Macon has also worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Cattlemen's Association, and was the founding executive director of the California Rangeland Trust. He is currently the vice president of the California Wool Growers Association and is a past president of the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management.
Macon earned a Master of Agriculture in integrated resource management from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural and managerial economics from UC Davis.
“I have finally recognized that the parts of my earlier jobs that I most enjoyed involved the things I'll be doing on a daily basis as a farm advisor - teaching and doing research,” Macon wrote in his Foothill Agrarian blog. “Along with raising sheep, I feel as though I've finally figured out what I'm supposed to do in life!”
“I have enormous shoes to fill - Roger Ingram and Glenn Nader, who have proceeded me in these four counties, were incredibly productive and successful advisors.”
Spinelli named vegetable and irrigation advisor
Gerardo “Gerry” Spinelli joined UCCE on April 17 as an area vegetable production and irrigation advisor for Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
Before joining UCCE, Spinelli had worked as agricultural specialist for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County since 2015. He performed irrigation system evaluations, implemented an irrigation water and soil moisture monitoring project, and provided recommendations for irrigation management and improvements in irrigation systems, assisting the strawberry, lettuce, apple, vegetable and blackberry industries.
From 2010 to 2015, Spinelli was a graduate student researcher in the Plant Sciences Department at UC Davis, where his research focused on water stress and water use at the leaf and canopy level in almond orchards in California.
Spinelli grew up on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence, Italy. He left Italy in 2007 to work in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, implemented a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp. In addition to English, he speaks French, Italian and Arabic.
Spinelli earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy and a M.S. in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a M.S. in tropical agricultural development and a B.S. in agricultural sciences and technologies from the University of Florence, Italy.
Based in Modesto, he can be reached at (209) 525-6806, (530) 304-3738 (cell) and email@example.com.
Vela to lead News and Information Outreach in Spanish
Ricardo Vela joined UC ANR as manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS) on May 15. As NOS manager, he oversees production of UC ANR radio, video and news releases for Spanish-language news media and will advise academics on effective outreach to the Latino community.
Before joining UC, Vela was the news director and main anchor for KVER-TV Univision in Palm Springs. Vela launched his journalism career in the third grade by starting a school newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was the news correspondent for Univision News in Los Angeles bureau for over 10 years, then moved to San Diego where he was the news anchor/producer for the Univision affiliate for 14 years. In 2014, Vela moved to his hometown of El Paso, Texas, to be the news anchor/producer for KTDO-Telemundo 48.
In 1992, he won an Emmy for his story about a Latino family coping with their last days before dying of AIDS and preparing their children for their loss. In 2005, Vela received an Emmy for a news feature, “Los Trovadores del Siglo 21.”
In 2001, Hispanic Business Magazine named Vela one of the 100 most influential Hispanic journalists in the country for his journalistic vision to voice the needs of the Hispanic community in San Diego. He expanded his commitment to the community by writing a weekly column for the El Latino newspaper about issues pertinent to Hispanics in San Diego. In 2004, The San Diego Press Club honored his newspaper column and morning radio talk show, Voces de San Diego, which had been on the air only a few months, and he was named one of the 10 most influential Latinos in San Diego by Tijuana's Frontera newspaper.
On Feb. 28, 2006, the City of San Diego honored him with a proclamation of “Ricardo Vela Day” for his contributions to the Latino community through his radio show.
Vela earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and a bachelor's degree in mass communications/journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He also studied film and video at the Art institute in Chicago.
Vela is based at the Rubidoux Building in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 781-2151 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANR women graduate from UC Women's Initiative Program
They were among a group of mid-career women, both staff and faculty, selected from all UC locations to participate in this special program created to improve the professional development and advancement of women at UC.
The four-session program was designed by the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and UC Systemwide Talent Management, and delivered by CORO, a nonprofit leadership development organization.
- Cultivate a vibrant, professional network of women that spans the UC system
- Give women access to top UC leaders—women and men—so they can interview and learn from them about their diverse leadership approaches and journeys
- Strengthen participants' skills and confidence through hands-on practice with a range of tools and skills in the areas of:
- Professional development and impact
- Strategic relationship building
- Developing and delivering a compelling narrative regarding one's professional accomplishments and vision
- Negotiating at work
- Peer coaching
The program is designed for mid-career women, both faculty and staff, who demonstrate the potential to advance their careers at UC. Last year, Katherine Webb-Martinez and Tunnyalee Martin participated in the training.
Van Eenennaam tapped for national research strategy
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine sought nominations for scientific leaders across various disciplines to be part of an activity that will develop a compelling strategy for food and agricultural research for the next decade and beyond. Nominations were sought for transformational thinkers across the scientific enterprise (including but not exclusively limited to the agricultural sciences) to be considered for the study committee. These include individuals on the frontier of scientific disciplines that would be of value but are not traditionally associated with food and agriculture.
In addressing its statement of task, the study committee will offer a strategic and ambitious view of the opportunities for fundamental and applied interdisciplinary research that is both grounded by a deep scientific understanding of food and agricultural challenges and elevated by the breakthrough potential of insights and tools from newly converging disciplines in the food and agriculture setting.
Susan Wessler, the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovations in Science Education and distinguished professor of genetics at UC Riverside, is co-chair of the committee.
For more information about the study, visit http://nas-sites.org/dels/studies/agricultural-science-breakthroughs/who-we-are-agriculture-breakthroughs/committee.
A stand-alone website devoted to UC ANR's Strategic Plan is now live and can be accessed in various ways:
- Direct link: http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/2016-2020_Strategic_Plan/
- “Squished” link: http://ucanr.edu/strategicplan
- Mini URL: http://ucanr.edu/p/58630
- Keyword search of any ANR website for "strategic plan."
The website is designed to give UC ANR academics and staff updated information on the plan and its ongoing implementation, and their role in reaching the plan's goals. It's also a place where stakeholders can offer feedback to leadership. Please let your stakeholders know about the site.
For more information about the Strategic Plan, read AVP Wendy Powers' blog post Updates on implementation of the strategic plan./span>