Although flu season may technically be half over, cases continue to rise in all areas of the country, including here in Connecticut, where health officials have reported a major spike in influenza-related hospitalizations during the past six weeks. So far this season, there have been 2,456 laboratory confirmed reports of influenza and 467 influenza-related hospitalizations.
As a result the Connecticut Department of Public Health has temporarily expanded the availability of state-supplied seasonal flu vaccine to include all children 5-18 years old, regardless of their insurance status. Residents who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to get the flu vaccine.
“We continue to see widespread flu activity and high levels of flu-related hospitalizations across the state,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Getting a flu shot is still the best tool we have to protect people from the flu and prevent serious flu-related illness.”
“The flu can cause severe illness and complications among our most vulnerable residents, including children,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “We must be proactive in protecting our children from the flu and continue to vaccinate as many children as we can, which is why we are making the state’s vaccine supply available to all of Connecticut’s children.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage all people over the age of six months old to be vaccinated. Vaccines are encouraged for everyone, but especially for high-risk groups, including children from 6 months to 18 years of age, women who will be pregnant during the flu season, people at least 50 years old, anyone with certain chronic medical conditions and people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
It should also be noted that residents of the largest cities, especially those who are poor and live in densely populated areas, may be at more risk of developing serious complications from the flu than other state residents. People living in urban communities are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for the flu.
For a related article see http://www.examiner.com/article/don-t-be-selfish-get-your-flu-shot-now