Health

Flu Vaccinations Are Lagging in San Diego This Season

flu vaccination syringe

Fewer San Diegans are getting vaccinated against influenza this season compared to last year, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A total of 761,199 San Diegans had received a flu vaccine through Nov. 6, compared to 850,196 at the same time last year: that’s about 90,000 fewer people who have been vaccinated this season.

“The lower vaccination numbers could lead to more people getting sick from influenza this season,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “San Diegans should get vaccinated before the flu starts to spread, typically around the holiday and winter season.”

The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the Influenza Watch weekly report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.

For the week ending Nov. 6, 2021, the report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3% of all visits (compared to 3% the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 30 (compared to 28 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 0 (compared to 0 at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 287 (compared to 18 last season)

Your Best Shot Against the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop. The CDC also indicates you can get a flu and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time. The coronavirus vaccine does not work against influenza.

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus.

They include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People aged 65 years and older; and
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk.

The influenza vaccine is now available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies and is covered by medical insurance. People with no health care coverage can get vaccinated at one of the County’s six public health centers or a local community clinic. To find the nearest location, visit the County’s Flu Vaccine Locations page or call 2-1-1 San Diego.

In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

In 2020, a total of 848 influenza cases were reported in San Diego, including two deaths. In 2019, a total of 108 San Diegans died from influenza and more than 20,700 flu cases were reported.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact