SLO County health department encouraging flu vaccination
–In an effort to prevent a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health is recommending residents get vaccinated against the flu.
“Flu will hit our community soon, and in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, getting the flu vaccine will be more important than ever,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer.
In California, flu activity usually begins to increase in late November or December, according to the health department. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity. Flu can look very similar to COVID-19 as it can cause fever, cough, body aches, chills, and other symptoms. If you have flu symptoms, you are encouraged to get tested for both COVID-19 and influenza.
Those at higher risk of getting severe flu disease according to the health department include:
• People 65 years and older.
• People who smoke or have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease,
asthma, lung disease, neurologic disorders, and weakened immune systems.
• Pregnant women and children under five years of age.
• African Americans, Latinx and Native populations, who are disproportionally affected by
chronic medical conditions that can increase the risk for severe flu or COVID-19.
• Residents in long-term care facilities.
SLO County residents can get the flu vaccine from their regular health care provider, many local pharmacies, or Public Health Department clinics by appointment. The flu shot is covered by most insurance, including Medi-Cal. The County will also host free drive-through flu shot events on October 21 in Atascadero and Arroyo Grande.
Individuals can also help stop the spread of germs every day by staying home when sick, washing hands often, wearing a cloth face-covering in public, staying at least six feet from others outside of your household, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.