Safest flu shot in San Diego?
September 10, 2020 4:18 PM   Subscribe

I've been extremely careful with the pandemic and have not interacted in person with any human or been in any building outside my own home since March. My doctor recommends I get a flu shot, though. Is anyone in San Diego doing an outdoor/drive-through flu shot clinic with masks, etc.? If not, where is a good place to get the vaccine that is following excellent safety and distancing procedures?

I have Sharp Health Plan which means I can get the vaccine at Von's or a few other places for free (this is what I normally do), but as far as I know all of them require you to go inside and I would prefer not to do that. So I'm willing to pay for it and go elsewhere.

I'm in the Point Loma area but willing to drive a reasonable distance (not so far I'd need to use a public restroom so I'd say within like half an hour/45 mins drive would be the max).

If no one is doing an outdoor clinic, please let me know from your personal experience where is a safe place to get this done. I am very anxious about going out for this and am really hoping to get it taken care of without triggering a major anxiety episode or contracting covid, the flu, or anything else. Thank you!
posted by pupstocks to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I’m not in California, but I just got a flu shot in the rain under a tent at my kid’s school playground. I thought the flu shot clinic was just for kids, but literally any grown up with insurance could get one there. Perhaps there’s a school near you doing a flu shot clinic? My kid’s school website had zero info, but the district website had some other opportunities listed.
posted by Maarika at 4:45 PM on September 10, 2020

Also, I found this info about drive-through flu shots through Sharp in San Diego: link.
posted by Maarika at 4:56 PM on September 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you Maarika! I have Sharp Community Medical which is different from Rees-Steely (it's dumb though, it's just based on who your PCP is). I don't think I'm eligible for this but I will inquire and look into the school thing too.
posted by pupstocks at 6:21 PM on September 10, 2020

This kinda feels like an anxiety question disguised as a pandemic question... Your level of caution seems excessive, and it's not really supported by data. Data suggests that being outside while keeping social distance from others is actually quite safe.

An emerging rule of thumb is, A CIViC DUTY: Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration, Unmasked, Talking/singing/Yelling.

You could sit in a park with another person and chat at a distance, for instance- I find sitting on two blankets is good for keeping our spaces easily defined. Wear a mask when indoors, avoid being in indoors in confined spaces with other people for extended periods of time, especially if they're unmasked, clean your hands, and you should be fine.

So yeah, if your doctor thinks a flu shot is a good idea for you, it's totally worth it. Going on some walks would probably be good too! You can be safe without being a hermit! Therapy might help.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:01 PM on September 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

The question is about getting a shot outside instead of inside, which would be safer, not about trying to be brave and hanging out with people in person on blankets and taking a nice stroll outside to not have anxiety. Dealing with medical personnel to get a shot is indoors,close proximity, if not long duration or unmasked (hopefully) and possible crowding if they're not managing the lines right. It's reasonable to have at least some concerns about that if we have to literally do what we have been told not to do in order to get any medical care.

I can't answer where you can get outdoor shots in San Diego since i don't live in the area, I don't know if it's doable. I haven't had the option myself. But I am only slightly less shut-in than you are and I have been forced to go into buildings for medical treatment such as shots (I have to get some seasonally) because outside medical treatment hasn't been an option here and if it's not an option for you, I can tell you how it goes.

I can say that if you are forced to be indoors, any medical facility SHOULD be as safe as it gets inside. Masks on everyone, lots of enforced spacing, and shots don't take that long and you aren't in contact with the other person for all that long. Flu shots are even shorter, that is a "move 'em in, move 'em out" process. I straight up complained when I saw nurses taking off their masks and sitting next to each other and chatting the first time I had to go get a shot in April, and the next time I had to get another shot, everyone was physically distant and wearing their masks the entire time. You can try calling whatever medical facility you might go to and asking about their protocols, if that helps.

So if you are forced to go indoors to get a flu shot, it should hopefully be okay, and I say that as a super paranoid person. I've had the flu and you don't want to be mixing up whether or not you got the flu or the coronavirus this year. It is probably worth the possible risk to get that shot done.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:59 PM on September 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

Response by poster: jenfullmoon, thank you so much for the helpful and supportive response.


> This kinda feels like an anxiety question disguised as a pandemic question...

It's not. I provided the information about the precautions I'm taking for context in service of my clear and specific question, which is 1. where can I get an outdoor/drive-through flu vaccine in San Diego or if that's not possible, 1a. where are the flu-shot-providing places following the best safety precautions in San Diego. If I wanted feedback on my general pandemic strategy or overall anxiety, I would have asked that question instead. I appreciate that you are trying to help, but it's just out of scope for this particular question and will veer the discussion into territory I didn't intend when I posted my ask if I respond to your specific comments.

Please trust that I asked the question relevant to the information I need. Thank you!
posted by pupstocks at 10:39 PM on September 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

You might be able to get a house call for a flu shot - definitely I’ve known people who’ve done this in the past. I’m not recommending this service - I only found it by googling - but it seems like they might let you schedule a house call where a nurse or someone can come give you the shot in your own yard:
posted by mskyle at 4:54 AM on September 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've had to go in a few medical facilities in the past month (unrelated to Covid). I felt safer there than anywhere else, tbh. People aren't milling about because medical offices have reduced capacity dramatically. Everyone is required to wear a mask at all times, social distancing is taken very seriously. Every staff member has had a mask plus a face shield. If you can't find an outdoor/drive-thru vaccine, I hope you'll feel comfortable going into a doctor's office at the very least. Good luck!
posted by cooker girl at 6:37 AM on September 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Looks like UC San Diego offers drive thru flu shots. So try this:


(I'm lousy and inexperienced at posting, so if the link doesn't show up or work, just Google UC San Diego Health flu shots.) Hope it helps!
posted by MelissaSimon at 6:57 AM on September 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

you might try calling a walk in type clinic. I can't speak for san diego, but i am in an area with less mask wearing and restrictions in general, but right now the walk in clinics are doing virtual visits for things like this and then you go to the clinic the same day for the shot. They have you wait in your car until its your turn, you go in when they call straight to a room do your thing and leave without sitting around in a waiting room.
posted by domino at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2020

i would think your doctor's office would be able to provide this quickly and efficiently, and of all indoor places likely be the safest place to be. call and ask to make a flu shot appointment and see what they say.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:34 PM on September 11, 2020

Can't speak to outdoor options in SD and if you must go to an indoor space I'd do a medical office over a vons to be safe. They will be more likely to be going out of their way to take precautions. In addition, not sure if this will help you, but I am much like you on the anxiety scale and precaution protocol. I finally had to go to the doctor for a mammogram and then a follow up in the last month, and my doc gave me a lot of good info about how effective covid precautions are in their space. She said, and I quote, what we are doing is working. To illustrate, she explained that they had a few cases where people who had visited the practice tested positive for covid in pre-surgery covid screens, which means the medical staff had likely been exposed, and yet they had no outbreaks in their employee base this whole time. Not only that, I have friends who have been pregnant and another unfortunately with cancer getting seen and treated over and over throughout the pandemic, and so far they have been all good.

Not saying there is no risk whatsoever or that you shouldn't be anxious, but hopefully that is helpful to hear! If you must go outside your comfort zone, a medical office or hospital is among the safer options (assuming you aren't hanging out in a covid ward unmasked!).
posted by amycup at 4:32 PM on September 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

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