It’s not too late to vaccinate

Flu cases are already active in Alaska and state health officials are urging all Alaskans from six months of age on up to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already.

“It’s not too late to vaccinate,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin. “Getting the flu vaccine greatly reduces your chances of getting the flu and helps prevent more severe cases of the flu. Our goal is to boost our vaccination rates before we see the second wave of seasonal influenza activity that is currently occurring in the Lower 48.”

A report issued in mid-February by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that this year’s flu vaccine has prevented health care visits in about half of those already vaccinated.

“Getting a flu shot helps protect individuals, families and communities,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer. “Making sure Alaskans are vaccinated against the flu will also help prevent our medical facilities from having to cope with an influx of flu cases as they are treating patients with other illnesses or preparing for the possibility of COVID-19 cases in Alaska.”

COVID-19 is a coronavirus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, which is spread through respiratory secretions, especially when an individual sneezes or coughs. To date coronavirus has infected over 80,000 people and caused over 2,700 deaths, mostly in China. First symptoms of the COVID-19 are fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath.