‘Tis the season to get that flu vaccine
This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, so the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reminds Michigan residents it’s not too late to get that shot before gathering for the holidays.
“The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your families against flu,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “It is important to get vaccinated today to prevent yourself from getting sick this holiday season. National Influenza Vaccination Week serves as a great reminder to get a flu vaccine for those who have not done so yet this season.”
Influenza is not the stomach flu, but a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of the virus and can result in mild to severe illness. Although thousands of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths are reported every year, only 46.1 percent of Michigan residents reported receiving a flu vaccine last season. Michigan ranks 38th in the nation for flu vaccination coverage and falls below the national average of 49.2 percent.
Last season, CDC estimated up to 42.9 million people became sick with influenza and up to 61,200 deaths occurred, 143 of which were children. In Michigan, four children died last season due to flu-related complications.
Flu activity is steadily increasing in Michigan and positive flu cases have been reported in the central, southwest and southeast regions. However, other states in the south have reported high flu activity and four flu-associated pediatric deaths have been confirmed nationally for the 2019-2020 flu season so far. It takes about two weeks after the vaccine is administered before the body builds up enough immunity to prevent the flu. Michiganders should get their flu vaccine now to protect themselves before activity peaks in Michigan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend annual influenza vaccination for anyone age 6 months and older. Many flu vaccine options are available this season, and individuals or parents/guardians should speak with a health care provider about which is best for them or those under their care.
There is ample supply of flu vaccines available at many locations throughout Michigan, including doctor’s offices, pharmacies and local health departments. To find a location near you, go online to Vaccinefinder.org. For more information about flu activity in Michigan, check the Michigan Flu Focus weekly newsletter or at Michigan.gov/flu.