Last influenza season was the deadliest on recent record in San Diego County. With this year’s flu season just around the corner, County health officials are encouraging everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu by getting vaccinated now.
“The vaccine is the best protection we have against influenza. Everyone six months and older should go and get it,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., deputy public health officer for the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).
Community members joined McDonald and other health officials at a flu vaccination clinic [Friday] in Encanto. The 10th annual event was organized by HHSA, the San Diego Immunization Coalition, AARP, and the San Diego Black Nurses Association to kick off the County’s influenza vaccination campaign to keep people healthy, a goal of the County’s Live Well, San Diego initiative.
“Influenza, regardless of what type, can be deadly,” McDonald added.
A total 65 San Diegans died due to complications from influenza. That is the highest number of local deaths on record, even greater than the 58 reported deaths during the H1N1 Pandemic.
Although the majority of individuals who died last influenza season were older adults and all but one had pre-existing medical conditions, the deaths serve as a strong reminder for people to get vaccinated.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. Those who should get a vaccination every year include:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung disease
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
This year’s influenza vaccine protects against Influenza A H3N2, Pandemic H1N1-like and Influenza B strains.
“The vaccine is safe and effective,” said Mark Sawyer, M.D., medical director of the San Diego Immunization Partnership and a member of the San Diego Immunization Coalition. “People should not be apprehensive about getting vaccinated against the flu.”
The influenza vaccine is available throughout San Diego County at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies and County public health centers for people with no medical insurance. Visit sdiz.org or call 2-1-1 San Diego to find a list of County locations.
-County of San Diego news release