Health

San Diegans Urged to Get Flu Vaccination

flu vaccine
A flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Mask wearing, physical distancing and COVID-19 preventive measures helped to greatly reduce the number of influenza cases reported in the region last year.

However, given that most places have reopened and people have resumed many normal routines and activities, County health officials are concerned this year’s flu season might be more severe.

“San Diegans are more likely to be out and about this flu season and that could lead to more people getting sick from influenza,” said Cameron Kaiser, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “The best protection we have against the flu is getting vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and effective and can help prevent people from getting sick, ending up in the hospital or, worse, dying.”

The County Health and Human Services Agency has begun publishing the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key influenza indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region. The report is released every Wednesday during the flu 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 Oct. 16, 2021, the report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3% of all visits (compared to 3% the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 0 (there were no deaths at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 215 (compared to 7 last season and an average of 145 at this date for the past five years)

How to Prevent 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 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
  • 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