Far fewer San Diegans getting flu shots this year, county reports

Health

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials said Wednesday fewer San Diegans are getting vaccinated for influenza than last year.

A total of 761,199 San Diegans had received a flu vaccine through Saturday, compared to 850,196 at the same time last year — about 90,000 fewer people.

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

Last season, 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.

For the week ending Saturday, a total of 30 influenza cases were reported in San Diego, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported. To date, 287 flu cases have been reported in the region, compared to 18 at this point last year.

For the week ending Saturday, the report shows:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness were 3% of all visits, same as the previous week; and
  • Total influenza deaths to date were zero, same at this time last season.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop protection against the virus.

Every Wednesday during flu season, the HHSA publishes the Influenza Watch weekly report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. People with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people age 65 and older and people who live with or care for others who are at higher risk are all more likely to get seriously sick from the flu.

The influenza vaccine is 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.

Health officials said people should 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; and
  • if you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

To find the nearest location, visit the county’s Flu Vaccine Locations page here or by calling 211.

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