Flu season is in full swing here in San Diego, and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency wants people to know that it’s not too late to get flu vaccine.
“Flu season typically peaks between December and February but flu activity can occur through May or later,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, County of San Diego Public Health Officer. “People who have not yet been vaccinated this season should get vaccinated now.”
Have You Gotten Your Flu Vaccine? It’s Not Too Late! is the theme of National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 6-12), a national observance to highlight the importance of getting flu vaccine in December or even later, to protect against influenza and the suffering it can cause.
For millions of people every season, the flu can mean a fever,
cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and
miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that more
than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu
complications each year. The flu can also be deadly. Last flu season
in San Diego County, 97 people died from flu, which is the highest
total since the County began keeping records of flu deaths.
But there is a vaccine that can prevent flu. Although effectiveness of the vaccine can vary from season to season, the benefits from vaccination are well-known. Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as reduce flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Some people are at higher risk for serious flu-related
complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and
even death. This includes young children, pregnant women, adults 65
and older, and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma,
diabetes or heart disease. For those at high risk for complications,
getting the flu vaccine is especially important. It’s also important
to get the vaccine if you are a caregiver for anyone at high risk,
including babies younger than 6 months, because they are too young to
get the vaccine.
Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting vaccinated
for the first time may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully
protected. If a child has not received his/her first dose, it’s
recommended to get them vaccinated now. For children who are 6 months
through 8 years of age and who have been vaccinated with one dose,
parents should check with the child’s doctor to see if a second dose
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, public health centers, and pharmacies. Some college health centers, employers, and schools may also offer flu vaccine clinics.
Be healthy for the holidays. It’s not too late —get your flu vaccine! For a list of clinics, visit the County Immunization Program Flu Clinics Page.