Maricopa County has seen a sharp increase in flu cases this year, prompting a renewed plea for people to get vaccinated. “We are seeing more than 15 times as many cases as we were at this time last year,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine of Maricopa County Public Health told us in mid-January. “The good news is if you’re vaccinated it prevents you from getting hospitalized or dying from the flu. But [the vaccine] is only 30% protective against getting the flu.” The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year. It also takes two weeks for the vaccine to kick in, so if you are exposed during that time, the vaccine will be less effective. That’s why health professionals recommend getting the flu shot early in the season before everyone around you gets sick. One challenge this year: the flu season started earlier than usual so many people weren’t protected. “Virtually everybody that we asked said, no, they did not receive a vaccine,” said Dr. Timothy Davie of Maricopa Integrated Health System. Typically, the earlier the flu season starts, the earlier it ends. That is not always the case, however, since the flu is a spreadable disease.
Here are some additional resources and information:
VIDEO: For one Maricopa County woman, the push to get people vaccinated is personal.
Maricopa County flu info & clinic information
Statewide flu statistics