Fewer people are getting the flu shot this year
(CNN) - In a majority of states, cases of the flu continue to rise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there have been at least 8.7 million flu illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 flu deaths so far this season.
“Hospitalizations for flu continue to be the highest we have seen at this time of year in a decade,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The CDC says this year’s flu shot appears to be a “very good match” to circulating strains, especially among those who are most vulnerable.
The latest CDC data shows through the end of October, flu vaccinations are down about 12% for pregnant women from the same point in 2021. Rates for seniors are down about 3% in that time period and flu vaccinations for children are down about 5% compared to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and U.S. health officials say getting a flu shot is key to protecting yourself and those around you.
”We see 35% decrease rates of hospitalization, even when we don’t have a good match, which really just emphasizes when we do have a good match how much more effective it will be,” Walensky said.
If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, health officials say it is not too late. Getting one now is better than not at all.
Walensky says the agency is aware of some reports of shortages for both antivirals and antibiotics during the rough virus season and urges doctors not to prescribe antibiotics for illnesses caused by viruses.
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