San Francisco VA Health Care System
It's flu season - Time to get vaccinated!
Flu season is here and it may be just as dangerous as last year. Thousands of people die and many more are hospitalized each year in the U.S. from the flu. Getting a flu shot is the best way to slow the spread of flu from person to person. A flu shot can protect you and your family or friends against flu.
Anyone can get flu, but some people are at high risk for complications from flu – these include people age 65 and older; people with health problems like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and other chronic illnesses or conditions; pregnant women; and caregivers of infants or family members with health problems. Everyone age 6 months and older is recommended to get a flu shot each year by VA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Flu viruses can change over time, so it’s important to get a shot every year. Every year the flu shot vaccine is updated to protect against the flu viruses most likely to spread that year.
To help Veterans protect themselves from the flu, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers several ways to get a no-cost flu vaccination. This year, like all others, flu shots will continue to be given at all VA Medical Centers and Community Based Outpatient Clinics for free. Veterans
can get their flu shot during any scheduled primary care or specialty care clinic visit at the San Francisco VA Medical Center or Community-based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). They may also go to the drop-in flu clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Practice in Building 200, Medical Practice Waiting Area from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m., Monday – Friday. Veterans may also contact their local CBOC for information on when flu shots will be given at that location. Let your provider or primary care team member know if you received the flu shot somewhere else, so that they can make a note in your medical record.
Veterans may also receive a no-cost vaccination by visiting any of the 8,200 Walgreens pharmacies nationally through the VA’s Retail Immunization program. Veterans can simply visit a Walgreens pharmacy, present their Veterans Health Identification Card and one other form of photo ID to receive a vaccination. To find a Walgreens store near you, call 800-WALGREENs (800-925-4733), or find a store. Only the standard-dose shot is available at Walgreens. For Veterans needing the “high-dose” vaccine, they will need to visit their local VA health care facility.
After a Walgreens pharmacist administers the flu shot, the Veteran’s immunization information is transmitted directly to VA through the eHealth Exchange and becomes part of the patient’s VA health record. The Walgreens immunization records are automatically available for VA clinicians to review within 24 hours. Learn more at: www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/immunization.asp
Stay Healthy During Flu Season
In addition to getting a flu shot, please take these precautions to avoid getting or spreading the flu:
• Avoid people who are sick
• Wash hands often
• Keep hands away from face
• Cover coughs and sneezes