Concern voiced about low rate for flu vaccinations
Southern Seven Health Department reports that while healthcare professionals continue to watch COVID-19 case numbers go back up throughout the nation, concerns about the low number of people getting their flu shot begins to surface.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, the number of people getting the vaccine is significantly down from last year’s flu season.
As of October, nationwide 150.4 million people had received their flu shot, compared with 174.3 million during the same time period in 2020.
This number includes everyone 6 months and older from all demographics.
This trend began during the first week of vaccinating back in August.
According to predicted models from the CDC, if this trend continues, vaccination rates could be slightly less than they were during the 2019-2020 flu season.
Southern Seven Health Department began offering its annual flu shots in September.
The department reported that as of the end of October, only 560 vaccinations had been given, compared with 917 during the same time period in 2020.
Southern Seven Health Department communicable disease manager Jennifer Shackles said the current drop in flu vaccinations could be the result of several factors, including less attention being given to getting a flu shot due to COVID, as well as concerns by some patients that the flu vaccine also contains the COVID-19 vaccine.
Recently, the CDC approved giving flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.
Shackles stated that with this approval came hesitancy by some to get a flu shot.
While you can get both vaccines on the same day, each shot is given from two different vials and syringes, she said.
There is no shot that contains both flu and COVID-19 vaccines. They are separate shots.
While a large number of the population got their flu shot during last year’s flu season, just over 1,600 people who tested for flu tested positive.
The health department said that while this is good news in one respect, it also means that continued natural immunity was interrupted.
For anyone who didn’t get a flu shot last year, or have the flu, their natural immunity is lower. Those individuals are at an increased risk for severe flu illness, hospitalization and death.
Southern Seven Health Department said that everyone who is able to should get a flu shot, but especially anyone over age 65, those with weakened immune systems or serious health conditions, the very young and those who didn’t get the vaccine last year.
The department offers regular and high dose flu vaccine.
High dose is for anyone 65 and older or has an immune deficiency or other severe medical condition.
For more information about this year’s flu vaccine or to schedule a vaccine appointment, call Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 or visit southern7.org.