State officials urge residents to get flu vaccines

State officials urge residents to get flu vaccines

LANSING — Tragic news from downstate is prompting health officials to remind citizens about the importance of vaccinations. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the first influenza–associated pediatric death of this flu season was a school–aged child from southeastern Michigan.

Despite the mild flu season thus far, experts say that flu viruses — including the notorious H1N1 strain — are circulating. Even this late in the season, getting a flu shot can help prevent serious illness.

“It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection,” said Dr. Terry Frankovich, the Local Public Health Medical Director at the Marquette County Health Department. “With flu season sometimes extending into April and even a little beyond, it’s very reasonable to get vaccinated.”

Getting vaccinated can even help prevent others from getting the disease.

“People who don’t feel that they’re particularly at risk, number one I’d submit that they may be wrong, and number two, it does help to protect other members of the community, particularly young infants and people who are unable to be vaccinated for other reasons,” Dr. Frankovich added.

During the previous flu season, only forty–four percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, putting Michigan in 40th place in the country. Click here to view the Health Map Vaccine Finder or here to find out more about the flu.