Southern 7 Health Dept. concerned over low flu vaccination rates

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 3:24 PM CST
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SOUTHERN, Ill. (KFVS) - The Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) began offering annual flu shots this past September.

The Department reports that as of the end of October only 560 vaccinations have been given compared to the 917 administered during the same time period in 2020.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people getting the vaccine nationwide is also significantly down from last year’s flu season.

As of October 2021, only 150.4 million people nationwide have received their flu shot compared with 174.3 million during the same time period in 2020.

The CDC says this number includes everyone 6 months and older from all demographics.

Communicable Disease Manager for S7HD, Jennifer Shackles stated the current drop in flu vaccinations could be the result of several factors including less attention given to getting a flu shot due to COVID-19, as well as concerns by some patients that the flu vaccine also contains the COVID-19 vaccine.

Shackles stated that the recent approval by the CDC to give flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time caused some to be hesitant with getting the flu vaccine.

While you can get both vaccines on the same day, each shot is given from two different vials and syringes.

There is no shot that contains both flu and COVID-19 vaccines. They are separate shots.

While a large number of the population got their flu shot during last year’s flu season, S7HD says just over 1,600 people who tested for flu tested positive.

Although this is good news in one respect, it also means that continued natural immunity was interrupted.

According to the CDC, individuals who didn’t contract the flu last year, or get the vaccine, have a lower natural immunity.

Those individuals are at an increased risk for severe flu illness, hospitalization and death.

The CDC recommends that everyone get the flu vaccine, especially those over the age of 65, those with weakened immune systems or serious health conditions, young people and people who didn’t get the vaccine last year.

For more information about the flu vaccine, or to schedule an appointment, call Southern Seven Health Department at (618)-634-2297 or click here.

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