PharmD students see to Dean Guglielmo’s flu shot

Mayor London Breed names ‘American Pharmacists Day in San Francisco’

The job of giving UCSF School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, his annual flu shot fell again this year to the student-run, interprofessional UCSF Flu Crew. The crew also presented Guglielmo with an official proclamation from San Francisco Mayor London Breed naming October 21, 2019 American Pharmacists Day in San Francisco.

Lee prepares Guglielmo's flu shot and administers it.

Susanna Lee gives Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, his flu shot. 

UCSF doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students Sabrina Bulla ’21T, Joe Li ’21P, Jessica Wisniewski ’21P, and Susanna Lee ’21T were on hand to needle the dean this year, precepted by Crystal Zhou, PharmD, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy.

Lee reached into a refrigerated box holding the vaccine and prepared the needle. She asked Guglielmo several questions to make sure the shot was right for him, including if he had an egg allergy or had ever had a bad reaction to a vaccine.

“The most common side effects are redness or soreness around the injection site,” she warned.

Lee donned green latex gloves, swabbed Guglielmo’s arm with alcohol, and aimed the needle into his deltoid muscle. “That is the best shot I’ve ever received!” Guglielmo exclaimed, an infectious diseases pharmacist by training.

Breed’s proclamation stated that “the UCSF Academy of Student Pharmacists, the American Pharmacists Association, and pharmacists in San Francisco work tirelessly to serve our city’s residents and deserve a grand celebration.”

For the Flu Crew this was business as usual. Last year, the team vaccinated over 800 people.

For most people who catch the virus, the flu is a minor inconvenience. But for some high-risk groups like the elderly, infants under two years of age, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions like diabetes, the flu can be very serious. Getting vaccinated not only lowers a person’s chance of getting sick, it also helps protect their whole community.

Each year, scientists anticipate the most likely strains of the flu and build a vaccine to combat them. They do this mostly by watching flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, in places like Australia.

It will be weeks or months before we know how good of a fit the vaccine is with the strains that will circulate this winter, but the vaccine can lessen the impact of an infection even when the fit isn’t perfect.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine every year. For UCSF employees and students, flu shots are available for free through the Occupational Health Program.

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.