SAN LUIS OBISPO — Over 1,200 people got a free flu shot at two drive-through clinics hosted by the County of San Luis Obispo on Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Atacadero and Arroyo Grande.

Local health officials say now is the time for those who have not gotten their flu shot yet.

“We had a great turnout at our drive-through clinics yesterday. Thank you to those community members who took the time to attend,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “Getting your flu shot is now more important than ever. If you were not able to get one at a clinic yesterday, please take the time to get your flu shot sooner rather than later.”

The drive-through clinics served as a mass vaccination drill, which helped public health workers practice for providing COVID-19 vaccinations when a vaccine becomes available. 

Anyone who did not participate in the clinics can still get the flu vaccine from their regular health care provider, many local pharmacies, or County Public Health Department clinics by appointment. The flu shot is covered by most insurance, including Medi-Cal.

In California, flu activity usually begins to increase in late November or December. Health officials agree that getting vaccinated is the best defense against the flu. 

Local officials say that getting a flu shot sooner rather than later is ideal because it takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity.

“Because the flu can look very similar to COVID-19, if you have flu symptoms, you will likely have to get tested for both flu and COVID-19,” Dr. Borenstein said. “Save yourself the trouble and get your flu shot this fall.”

People at higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 illness are also at higher risk of severe flu illness, including 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 5 years of age.

To learn more about flu and the flu vaccine, visit cdc.gov/flu.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with COVID-19 questions.

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