Fewer people getting flu shot amidst outbreak
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s only October and this flu season is already hitting harder and earlier than it has in 13 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationally there have been roughly 880,000 cases of flu illness, 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 flu-related deaths including a child.
Dr. Tamara Sheffield, with Intermountain Healthcare, said people might skip their flu shot this year due to vaccine fatigue. Sheffield noted the trend is worrying because of the size of the outbreak.
“We’re [seeing] about 20% less influenza vaccines this year than in previous seasons and we’re concerned there’s a little bit of vaccine fatigue. People have been out there getting their COVID vaccine, and they’re just thinking they’ve been getting enough,” said Sheffield.
Sheffield also explained the significance of viral competition. When COVID-19 was rampant, the flu and RSV took a back seat.
“The population hasn’t been having the influence of the virus passing around, it doesn’t have that immunity, we’re ripe for a new outbreak of influenza,” said Sheffield.
While it is recommended everyone gets vaccinated, the CDC warns some groups have a higher risk of flu complications, including adults over the age of 65, children under the age of two, pregnant women, people with autoimmune or neurological conditions and people with heart disease to name a few.
To get information regarding the flu, vaccines or a complete list of high-risk conditions visit cdc.gov/flu.
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Amie Schaeffer contributed to this article.
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