First Flu Outbreak Has State Officials Urging Michiganders To Get Vaccinated
The state of Michigan is experiencing its first major flu outbreak of the season, and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is reminding everyone that the flu vaccine is one of the best tools for preventing the spread.
A recent outbreak among University of Michigan Students, involving 525 cases of influenza A, has prompted the reminder from the MDHHS:
As we head into respiratory virus season, it is important to take every mitigation measure we can to prevent outbreaks of the flu, RSV and COVID-19. Wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and getting vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 will help prevent the spread of illness. COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time, and we encourage all eligible Michiganders to get theirs as soon as possible. -Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive.
As of last week, these are the following county's rates for vaccination coverage in West Michigan (via MDHHS):
- Kent: 27.10%
- Ottawa: 27.63%
- Muskegon: 22.35%
- Allegan: 20.52%
Data from MDHHS’s flu vaccine dashboard show that influenza vaccine administrations are down versus previous seasons.
During a typical flu season like the 2019-2020 flu season, the nation recorded 39 to 56 million estimated cases of the flu. The 2020-2021 flu season was unique in many ways, resulting in historically low flu activity for the entire season.
Public health professionals indicate that community mitigation measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as masking and social distancing and influenza vaccination could have contributed to the below-average amount of influenza cases last season.