Health leaders worried as flu season ramps up in Michigan

Fewer people getting flu shot
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in Michigan trying to figure out what’s behind a significant flu outbreak.

The University of Michigan said 528 students have gotten the flu in the last month with 313 getting sick just last week.

Most of those cases are in people who haven’t gotten a flu shot this year.

Fewer people are getting their flu shot this season than the last two flu seasons.

“We were worried about this last year,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “We’re seeing not only cases of flu and we’re seeing outbreaks of flu already. And this is quite early.”

Michigan is falling short of its goal to get four million people vaccinated against influenza this season.

Dr. Bagdasarian said the flu is spreading faster, and sooner than it would normally.

“I think some of that has to do with pandemic fatigue. It has to do with the fact people are tired of having heard about respiratory viruses. They’re tired of taking precautions and talking about how to keep themselves safe,” said Bagdasarian.

Dr. Bagdasarian said this is coming at a bad time with COVID cases up and hospitals full.

“It’s very unfortunate because we do have effective tools for COVID 19, we just need people to take them up. And we have the flu vaccine,” said Bagdasarian.

It’s still early in the flu season.

And some doctors expect more people to get the flu shot in the next few weeks.

“Some people have pushed the flu vaccine later so they can try the COVID vaccine,” said Dr. Subhashis Mitra, Michigan State University.

The CDC said people can get their COVID and flu shots at the same.

In the meantime, Dr. Bagdasarian said the COVID precautions, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and staying home, helped keep flu at a minimum last year.

“This is the year we can’t afford to let down our guard. COVID is surging. Influenza cases are up and RSV cases are up,” said Bagdasarian.

Flu season in Michigan is usually the worst from December to February.

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