This is the 14th year in a row the County has worked with the San Diego Black Nurses Association to vaccinate people in San Diego’s southeastern community at no cost.
“It’s great to see people getting vaccinated before the flu starts to spread,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.
“The vaccine is safe and effective. Everyone should get vaccinated to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus to others,” added Wooten, who got her flu shot at the vaccination event.
Last season, 87 people in the San Diego region died from complications from the flu, 19 more than the previous season. Ninety-seven people died during the 2014-15 flu season, the highest total since County began tracking flu deaths nearly 20 years ago.
Persons with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to experience serious complications from influenza, but healthy persons could unexpectedly have severe illness that leads to disability and death. People may be contagious for a full day before they start to feel symptoms and consequently spread the disease to vulnerable family members.
“We’re bringing the vaccine to the elderly so that they can the flu shot for free,” said Syvera Hardy, who organizes the event for the San Diego Black Nurses Association. “It’s very important that they get vaccinated so that they don’t get sick.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
This season’s flu vaccine offers protection against several strains of the flu including influenza A H3N2, pandemic H1N1-like and influenza B strains, and the CDC estimates about 166 million doses of injectable flu vaccine will be available this season.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:
People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
People 65 years and older
People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
Kamme Hendricks, 73, said he gets vaccinated every year.
“I’ve been getting the flu shot for the past 20 years,” said the area resident. “I don’t want to get the flu.”
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
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can get a flu shot at a Community Health Center or a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.