OAKLAND (KCBS) – With the flu continuing to spread at an alarming, and deadly rate in California, there’s a late-season rush for flu shots.

There have been ten times as many deaths from the flu in California this year as there were at this point last year.

Dr. Steve O’Brien, Chief Medical Officer at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley, said the worrisome headlines are scaring some of the reluctant into flu shot clinics and doctors’ offices.

“The majority of people who are at risk should have gotten it already,” O’Brien said. “But I saw a patient this morning who refused to get it in the fall, but now they’re sacred by all the news stories. I saw him today and he asked for a shot”

O’Brien said with at least a month left in an unusually bad flu season, it’s still worthwhile to get the vaccine, with the supply plentiful in the Bay Area.

Dr. Gil Chavez, California’s state epidemiologist, agrees with that assessment.

“The only sure way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated,” he said. “Things such as good nutrition and sleeping well generally keep your immune system healthy. But that’s not enough to prevent you from getting the flu, if you are exposed.”

Chavez said there’s no shortage of vaccine this year, and no, you can’t get the flu from the shot, which contains only a killed virus.


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