Rick Hazard of WAXIE demonstrates hand sanitizing. Courtesy of Mark Kersey’s office

A group of city and county officials announced plans Wednesday to fight back against the flu virus in San Diego during this flu season.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey and San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten were among the officials gathered at the San Diego Central Library to announce the installation of hand sanitizer stations at all San Diego libraries and recreation centers. In addition, the California Restaurant Association, San Diego chapter, announced it will donate 200 hand sanitizing stations for association members to add to their restaurants.

The city has partnered with WAXIE Sanitary Supply and hygiene product manufacturer Gojo Industries to install the stations and make them available for public use.

“You have to do everything you can do to protect yourself,” said Kersey, whose brother died of pandemic influenza H1N1 in 2014. “We want to avoid other families having to go through the same situation.”

The city is making a concerted effort to fight the virus this flu season after a record 342 residents died of flu-related causes during the 2017- 2018 flu season, a 293 percent increase over the city’s 87 deaths during the 2016-2017 flu season. Wooten advised all residents last month to get the vaccine, which protects against multiple flu strains and takes about two weeks to take effect.

“Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated now before flu season arrives,” Wooten said. “The vaccine is safe and effective. All San Diegans should get vaccinated to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus to others.”

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, local retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county’s public health center. Residents can call 2-1-1 or visit the county’s immunization program website, sdiz.com, for a list of county locations that are administering the flu vaccine free of charge.

–City News Service

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