Health System recommends all residents ages 6 months and older get vaccinated
Flu season is here and San Mateo County Health officials urge everyone ages six months and older to get a flu shot. Flu vaccine is now widely available throughout the county, and the Health Officer recommends that residents visit their healthcare providers early in the flu season to get vaccinated.
The influenza virus mutates from year to year, which is why it is important for people to get vaccinated every year.
“The flu vaccine is our best defense against the flu,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. “Flu vaccine is safe and can prevent flu related illness, hospitalization, and even death. With the vaccine widely and easily available, there is no reason to wait to get vaccinated.”
People are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider to get their flu shot. Vaccine is also available at pharmacies, retail stores, and offered by some employers. For people who do not have a healthcare provider or insurance, the Health System and community organizations offer free flu vaccine at clinics throughout the County. No appointment is necessary for these clinics, and no I.D. is required.
For more information on where to get your flu shot visit www.smchealth.org/flu.
Flu season in California generally begins in October and peaks in late December through March. The timing and spread of the disease are unpredictable, and it takes about two weeks to gain protection after receiving a flu vaccination. For this reason, health officials urge getting vaccinated as early in the season as possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu each year, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations. Thousands of people die each year from flu complications. Flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself, and those around you, against this potentially serious illness.
It is especially important that certain groups be vaccinated, such as pregnant women, children younger than five, adults 50 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, and people who live with or care for those at high-risk for complications from the flu.
For more information about the flu, and for a schedule of community vaccine clinics in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/flu, or call the flu hotline at (650) 573-3927.