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

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 skyrocket and health officials prepare for a bad flu seasonThe Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is urging people to get a flu shot.

While it’s normal to see flu awareness campaigns, this year’s call raises some concerns: MDH says less than a quarter of Minnesotans have been vaccinated since Oct. 31.

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

MDH says that around 50% of people received annual flu treatment before the pandemic, but in 2022 that number is 23%.

Before the pandemic, the department didn’t even consider half the population a good benchmark: “Those old rates weren’t what we would consider good or ideal by any means, but we have to work to see those rates again and improve on them.”

Although this year’s data will not be released for some time, the number of people suffering from flu and similar diseases has already started to fall.

“Right now our hospitals are full,” said Dr. Michael Stiffman, chairman of family medicine at HealthPartners. “This year we’re definitely seeing an earlier and much more serious spike than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

MDH data shows that the flu typically peaks in Minnesota in mid-to-late December, but in 2022 the spike started about a month earlier than usual.

Health officials are asking all people who can get a flu shot, even if they’re part of an unfortunate camp that’s already been hit by the bug.

“Even if you’ve already had the flu this year, the vaccine protects against four strains. So to protect yourself from potentially picking up another species during the year, it’s not too late,” said Melissa McMahon, senior epidemiologist at MDH.

Find out where you can get a flu shot inventor of vaccines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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