Flu Epidemic Heading West – It’s Not too Late for Your Flu Vaccine!
San Bernardino, CA – The flu outbreak in the U.S. has reached the point of an epidemic according to The Centers for Disease Control or CDC who is now reporting 47 states now have widespread flu outbreaks.
As of last week, the flu had spread to 47 states, but California is not one of them – yet!
The CDC says the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Vaccines are available in two forms. The most common is the flu shot, an injected vaccine. A nasal spray vaccine is also available as an alternative for most people ages 2 to 49.
“At LaSalle we are doing our best to make sure that every individual who comes through our doors gets a flu vaccine,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga, president of LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc.
“As of December 31, 2012, LaSalle’s four clinics have given a total of 10,200 flu vaccines. This means that for every 10 patients we saw four (4) of them got the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Arteaga. According to the CDC the national average for people receiving flu vaccines is three and a half per 10 people.
According to Arteaga, “LaSalle’s clinics, use a number of methods to have patients immunized against the flu. They include phone calls to our members reminding them that it is time for this very important vaccine along with signage at all of our locations. Our staff have put together fun things at each of our clinics for all of the children who have been vaccinated.”
The transmission of the influenza (flu) virus from health care professional to patients has become a growing concern. In fact, each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized, with as many as 49,000 people dying after contracting the flu.
To a large degree, the flu virus is passed from person to person. A fact that has not been lost at San Bernardino based LaSalle Medical Associates. Dr. Arteaga understands that health care professionals play a key role in combating the spread of the flu virus. LaSalle Medical Associates has a culture of preventative care, starting with their employees and family.
“It is extremely important for us to show leadership and to set an example for our patients by getting immunized to prevent germs from circulating,” said Dr. Albert A. Arteaga, president of LaSalle Medical Associates. “In many cases we may be the only barriers to preventing the spread of the virus. Therefore, we encourage our staff to do exactly what we are asking others to do.”
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently released its annual report on vaccination rates among health care employees across the state. It says that while employee vaccination rates has increased slightly form 2010 to 2011, only 64 percent of health care personnel receive vaccinations to combat against the flu.
Operating clinics in Hesperia, Fontana and two in San Bernardino, LaSalle Medical Associates boasts an overall average of 91 percent vaccination rate for staff and health care workers.
As a dedicated, advocate for immunizations, Dr. Arteaga stresses that vaccinations remain the single most effective tool to fight the spread of the virus from professional to patient.
“I believe that the vaccination of all health care professionals is essential in preventing transmission of germs causing illness from patient to patient,” said Dr. Arteaga. “At LaSalle we are doing everything possible to lead by example, and encourage our employees to receive flu vaccinations. In fact, our corporate office has a 100 percent flu vaccination rate.”
“This is a belief that Dr. Arteaga holds very dear. In fact, he believes it so strongly that he personally asked all of the LaSalle staff to get their vaccinations, as well as their families. As a result, LaSalle offered its employees and family members vaccinations free of charge,” said Carl Maier, executive vice president of operations.
Maier added, ”Immunizing as many people as possible is so important to LaSalle that after several vendor meetings at the corporate office the LaSalle staff gave them flu vaccines – no charge of course.”
LaSalle’s immunizations efforts were recognized by the CDC last year as Dr. Arteaga was awarded California’s first-ever CDC Childhood Immunization Champion and one of only 39 across the country receiving the prestigious honor.
The award given by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes advocates who work to make sure children are protected by immunizations.
“Contrary to what some might think, the virus in the flu shot is inactive. Therefore, you cannot get the flu from a flu shot,” said Dr. Arteaga.
LaSalle will give flu vaccines until March or, as long as they have the vaccine. At LaSalle, flu shots are free for children and seniors.
For more information on flu vaccines call the LaSalle medical clinics closest to you. In Fontana at 17577 Arrow Blvd. (909) 823-4454; in San Bernardino at 1505 West 17th St, (909) 887-6494, and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave., (909) 884-9091, and in Hesperia at 16455 Main St. (760) 947-2161.
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., operates four clinics employing more than 120 dedicated healthcare professionals, treating children, adults, and seniors in San Bernardino County. LaSalle’s patients are primarily served by Med-Cal and Healthy Families and they also accept Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Molina, Care 1st, Health Net and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP). LaSalle’s clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 16455 Main St. in Hesperia and1505 West 17th St. and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., is also an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals and clinics, delivering high quality patience care with more than 190,000 patient visits per year in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin and Tulare Counties.
LaSalle’s IPA members in the Inland Empire include: LaSalle Medical Associates, Banning Medical Group and San Bernardino Urological Associates. Hospital affiliations include: Rancho Springs Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, St. Bernadine Medical Center, Mountains Community Hospital, Redland Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Corona Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital, Kaiser Moreno Valley, Kaiser Fontana and Kaiser Riverside.