September 13, 2023
  • Redwood City — San Mateo County Health officials urge residents six months and older to get the seasonal flu vaccine and the updated COVID-19 shot, which was approved yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Fall and winter mark the traditional flu season, as more activities take place indoors and holiday travel is popular. COVID-19 is also more transmissible in confined spaces, so there is increased risk for respiratory viruses during this period. The CDC recommends getting the flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.

    County residents should contact their primary health care provider or local pharmacy for flu and COVID-19 vaccines, which are available at no cost for those with insurance. Many pharmacies offer free COVID-19 to residents without insurance – call or check pharmacy websites to learn more.

    Residents without health coverage may also contact County Health at (650) 573-2877 or email to learn how to access flu and COVID-19 vaccines at no cost.

    For its patients, San Mateo Medical Center is updating its systems and processes to reflect the new COVID-19 guidelines and will offer vaccination after the updated COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. Patients assigned to SMMC should contact their clinic for more information and to schedule an appointment.

    It’s important to be up to date with flu and COVID-19 vaccination. Flu shots are formulated annually to target the strains of influenza that are expected to circulate during the fall and winter months. Similarly, the updated COVID-19 vaccine targets recently circulating variants and offers broad protection against the worst outcomes of the disease.

    “If you are eligible, this is a good time to get both the influenza and updated COVID vaccines to help protect you from severe illness and hospitalization in the upcoming respiratory virus season,” said San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana.

    Respiratory virus season also sees an increase in cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which causes symptoms similar to those from COVID-19 and flu. The CDC says that adults 60 years and older may receive a single dose of RSV vaccine, based on discussions between the patient and health care provider. RSV vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Residents should consult their health care provider.

    To learn about health coverage options in San Mateo County that may be available to you and your family, please call the Health Coverage Unit at (650) 616-2002 or click here for more information.