SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Flu vaccination clinics have been popping up all over western Massachusetts, as the country prepares for the flu season. The CDC is sending an urgent message to Americans, get vaccinated for both COVID and the flu.
“With modest flu activity since March of 2020 CDCs flu experts are concerned that reduced population-level immunity to the seasonal flu could place us at risk for a potentially severe flu season this year,” CDC Director, Dr. Rochele Walensky said.
Top health officials from the agency, raising concerns about a surge in flu cases as the holiday season approaches. According to the CDC, the dip in cases is due to COVID-19 preventative measures and the shutdown. The U.S. only saw 2,000 cases between 2020 and 2021, compared to the previous flu season, which saw nearly 35 million cases.
The CDC says that an increase in flu cases could put an additional burden on the healthcare system already fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and increase the stress on health care workers. Some western Massachusetts residents have already rolled up their sleeves to get the flu vaccine.
“I believe in herd immunity and protecting people who can’t get the vaccine for health reasons. And after COVID, I just, anything I can do to mitigate the risk of getting seriously ill, I’m just going to do that,” Sam Brown, from Northampton told 22News.
The agency recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months and older, and says ideally everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October.