UCSF

UCSF pharmacy students vaccinate Dean Guglielmo against the influenza virus

Fall is upon us and flu cases are predictably on the rise. In anticipation of a stronger-than-normal flu season, UCSF doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students recently stepped up to make sure that School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, received a timely dose of the influenza vaccine.

Vaccinating the dean has become an annual tradition. This year’s Vaccinate the Dean event took place on October 29, with assistance from the Parnassus Walgreens Pharmacy, where students from the Class of 2023 administered the shot.

Guglielmo began the ceremony by reading from a proclamation issued by San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, in which the mayor declared October “American Pharmacy Month.” Then Guglielmo rolled up his sleeve and Lynna Davis, Class of 2023, administered a dose of the vaccine into his shoulder.

The Vaccinate the Dean event was coordinated by UCSF’s American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP) and California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) chapter President-Elect Jethro Pobre; and APhA-ASP and CPhA Policy Vice President Sherry Fu. Class of 2023 pharmacy students Sarah de Jesus and Kera Jewett were on hand to capture photos.

The mayor’s proclamation designated this year’s theme as “Easy to Reach, Ready to Help.” The theme highlights the accessibility of pharmacists in our communities and their readiness to provide care and counsel to people of all ages and health statuses.

“Last year’s flu season was among the lightest in memory, thanks in part to COVID-19 mitigation measures, like masking and social distancing” Guglielmo said. “ We’re expecting this flu season to be much more significant and cannot be complacent. Everyone needs to get their flu shot.”

In fact, fewer cases last season may portend a worse-than-average flu season in 2021-2022. Light exposure to the flu last year means that fewer people have protective immunity to the disease, making more people vulnerable to flu infections.

Guglielmo and PharmD students
Sarah de Jesus and Kera Jewett

Dean Guglielmo displays Mayor Breed’s proclamation before receiving the flu vaccination from PharmD students.

Also, the country is still coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, which many experts believe could launch yet another wave of infection as cooler weather forces people inside. This could trigger an episode of the much-feared “twindemic” – a concurrent wave of influenza and a Delta variant-fueled surge of COVID-19. All of this makes vaccination against both diseases even more important.

"It's crucial that everyone gets their flu shot this year, particularly since we now have both COVID-19 and the flu to contend with," Fu said. "[This event] is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate the vital role that pharmacists play in immunizing patients against disease."

For those with health coverage, flu shots are available free of charge at the offices of most primary care doctors, local pharmacies, supermarkets, and big-box stores. UCSF offers flu shots for patients at clinics in San Francisco, San Mateo, Oakland, and Walnut Creek. For those without insurance, there are options for getting vaccinated at low or no cost. More information is available through county health departments.


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.