MDH: Vaccination rate low at 23% as bad flu season begins

MDH: Vaccination rate low at 23% as bad flu season begins

As flu cases soar and health officials brace for a bad flu seasonthe Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is urging people to get their flu shot.

While it’s normal to see flu vaccine information campaigns, this year’s call comes with some concern: MDH says less than a quarter of Minnesotans have vaccinate against the flu on October 31.

“People seem to have forgotten about flu shots in the middle of the pandemic, but it’s time to prioritize your flu shot again,” an MDH representative told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

MDH says about 50% of people received their annual flu booster before the pandemic, but in 2022 that number stands at 23%.

Before the pandemic, the department also did not consider half of the population a good benchmark: “These old rates were by no means what we would consider good or ideal, but we must work to review these rates and the to improve. on them.”

Although this year’s data won’t be released for some time, the toll of influenza and similar illnesses has already started to hit.

“Right now, our hospitals are overflowing,” said Dr. Michael Stiffman, director of family medicine at HealthPartners. “This year we’re certainly seeing an earlier peak and a much more severe peak than what we’ve seen in recent years.”

MDH data shows flu typically spikes in Minnesota in mid to late December, but in 2022 the peak began about a month earlier than usual.

Health officials are asking everyone who can get a flu shot, even if they are part of the unlucky camp that has already been hit by a bug.

“Even if you have already had the flu this year, the vaccine protects against four strains. So to avoid contracting another strain throughout the year, it’s not too late,” said Melissa McMahon, senior epidemiologist at MDH.

Find where you can get your flu shot with the vaccine researcher from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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