For the media

The importance of getting a flu shot

By The Health News Team | October 19, 2023
Nursing students outside flu shot clinic at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Nursing students at Southwestern College greet flu vaccine recipients outside Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Getting your flu shot should be at the top of your to-do list. It should also be easy.

Sharp Coronado Hospital made sure of that for several San Diegans when they held free flu shot clinics earlier this month. Participants from throughout the county were invited to drive up, bike up or walk up for their annual influenza vaccinations, which were administered by Southwestern College nursing students.

Lynette Leigh, RN, a clinical instructor with Southwestern and nurse in the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Emergency Department, says events like this are important for both the community and the students. She appreciates the opportunity to see the nursing students successfully working together, communicating and most importantly, serving the community.

“These are the people the students will one day be taking care of,” Leigh says. “And they're just so thankful and happy to see us. And we're happy to be able to give them their shot.”

Southwestern nursing students at the 2023 Sharp Coronado flu clinic

Southwestern College nursing students show their enthusiasm for vaccination outside Sharp Coronado's free flu clinic.

Desiree Pugeda, a Southwestern vocational nursing student says she appreciates the opportunity to practice her nursing skills. “To learn in class and then contribute to the community, helping the community stay healthy, means a lot to me,” she says.

Why you should get your shot

While not all clinics will be as convenient — or fun — as an island-style drive-thru, getting a flu shot is vital. Here’s why:

  • Seasonal flu activity is likely to increase. Australia reported cases there spiked earlier than usual, and the U.S. flu season usually follows similar trends as those seen during the fall and winter in that region.

  • The flu shot helps protect you from severe illness, hospitalization and death. The vaccine can help protect you from flu illness or reduce the severity of illness in those who are vaccinated but still get infected.

  • The annual flu shot is targeted at flu strains expected to be in circulation. Every year, the flu vaccine is reformulated and standardized by the U.S. Public Health Service to include influenza strains that are predicted to circulate through the community during the upcoming season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine (with rare exceptions). This is especially true for people at high risk of serious complications from flu, such as adults 65 and over, those with chronic health conditions, very young children and pregnant women.

While data show September and October are the “sweet spot” for getting vaccinated, it’s very important to get the flu vaccine, even if it’s later in the season. According to the CDC, flu activity can continue through May, so vaccination after October is still beneficial.

Talk with your doctor or local pharmacist about getting your annual flu shot. Flu shots will also be available at San Diego County’s public health centers and local community clinics.

Additionally, Sharp Coronado Hospital will hold another island-style, drive-through free flu clinic Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 10 am to 3 pm (while supplies last). The standard-dose vaccine will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at 255 Soledad Place in Coronado, in front of the grassy lawn on the north-west side of the hospital. Participants are welcome to drive, bike or walk up to receive a shot administered by Southwestern College nursing students.

Learn more about flu; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

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