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Rady Children’s Hospital Doctors Urge Flu Vaccine

Photo by Susan Murphy

Piper Shanks, 12, receives a flu vaccination at Rady Children's Hospital, Oct. 11, 2016.

The peak of San Diego’s flu season is likely still weeks away, but health officials at Rady Children’s Hospital are urging everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated now.

The peak of San Diego’s flu season is likely still weeks away, but health officials at Rady Children’s Hospital are urging everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated now, especially those with chronic conditions such as heart and lung disease.

“With almost 300,000 visits a year to our campus, we feel we have a huge opportunity to impact the health of our children this flu season,” said Charles Davis, M.D., vice president and chief operating officer at Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego.

Rady's is offering a flu vaccine clinic for those 18 years and younger. The clinic, located on the third floor at 3030 Children’s Way, is open from 9 a.m. to noon, and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

As part of the public health initiative, patients can receive their annual vaccine while on the campus for other medical appointments.

The hospital has already seen a few cases of the flu, but the peak usually occurs between December and February, said Mark Sawyer, infectious disease specialist.

“We usually see a big increase in cases,” said Sawyer. “Last year we had 20 children in the intensive care unit.”

Last flu season 68 people in the county died from the flu. So far this season, one person has died.

Health officials said this year’s vaccine covers two different strains of flu compared to last year’s. For the first time, the vaccine is also available for people with egg allergies.

Another big change is the nasal spray is no longer available.

Piper Shanks, 12, bravely rolled up her sleeve on Tuesday to get her flu vaccine. With type 1 diabetes, Shanks is considered at high risk of flu complications.

"It didn’t hurt at all,” Shanks said. “It’s definitely worth getting the shot than getting sick and having the flu.”

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