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The Immunize LA Families Coalition will provide free flu vaccines at the City of Refuge Church on December 4 and at Tower of Faith Evangelistic Church on December 18.Bishop Noel Jones is the senior pastor of City of Refuge, located at 14527 S. San Pedro Street in Gardena. The vaccines are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Reuben P. Anderson, Sr. is the senior pastor of Tower of Faith, 4323 E. Rosecrans Avenue in Compton. Vaccines will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Flu vaccines are also available at numerous sites, including clinics sponsored by Los Angeles County and other providers, where they are offered at no charge."One of the best gifts you can give to your friends and families is to get your flu vaccine now so that you can be certain you won't be bringing a very serious illness to the holiday parties and gatherings," said Dr. Felix Aguilar, who is working with Immunize LA Families Coalition to increase flu vaccine rates in South Los Angeles. "The flu often spreads more rapidly during the holiday season because we spend more time with more people at that time of the year. You can easily protect yourself, your family and your community by getting immunized."Aguilar, a physician at South Central Family Health Center, pointed out that the seasonal flu is not a cold. He said the seasonal flu may cause one to two weeks of fevers, body aches, lethargy and feeling ill. He also said the flu comes on suddenly and can lead to hospitalization and death.Los Angeles County reported its first case of seasonal flu on Sept. 29, so the flu season is already underway in Southern California. Between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu every year.Between 1976 and 2006, the number of flu-related deaths in the United States ranged between 3,000 and 49,000 annually. In 2008, flu and pneumonia caused more than 6,500 deaths in California; together, they are the 8th leading cause of death among adults in Los Angeles County."The flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself, your family and your community against seasonal flu and H1N1," Dr. Aguilar said. "Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year."Dr. Oliver Brooks, chairman of the Immunize LA Families Coalition, said immunization is especially important for those who are most at risk from the flu and most likely to spread the flu, including pregnant women, children younger than age 5, people 50 years of age and older and anyone with chronic medical conditions, including diabetes and asthma."The flu vaccine is also very important for people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, as well as for anyone living with or caring for those at high risk for complications from flu," said Dr. Brooks. "This year, only one flu vaccination is needed for protection against seasonal flu and H1N1."About Immunize La Families CoalitionThe Immunize LA Families Coalition was formed with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the REACH U.S. (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health across the United States) initiative. Its mission is to increase immunization rates in South Los Angeles.The Immunize LA Families Coalition is administered by South Los Angeles Health Projects, a community-based unit of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The Coalition's efforts are focused on SPA 6, an area of 87 square miles, which includes more than 1 million residents who live in the communities of Paramount, Lynwood, Compton, Watts and parts of Los Angeles.For information, contact Akisha White at