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Health care providers urge Michiganders to get a seasonal flu vaccination

someone getting a shot
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Health care providers and public health officials want Michiganders aged 6 months and older to get vaccinated soon against seasonal flu.

As of November 26, Michigan was just over two-thirds of the way towards its of goal vaccinating 4 million state residents.

"Influenza cases are on the rise in Michigan, and the situation is expected to worsen over the next several weeks. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your families against the anticipated surge of influenza," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in a written statement.

"It is not too late to get vaccinated this season — please get vaccinated to prevent yourself from getting the potentially severe consequences of influenza this holiday season and to help prevent further burden on our health care systems," Bagdasarian added.

Dr. Delicia Pruitt said this time of year is critical for flu vaccinations. "November is a time that rates for flu start out low, but then they start to come back up very steeply in December, all the way through March and April time," said Pruitt, who is a primary care physician, medical director of the Saginaw County Health Department, and associate professor at Central Michigan University College of Medicine.

"We want to do all we can to protect our kids and ourselves," Pruitt said. "And the way to do that is to get vaccinated. That's the primary prevention."

Flu vaccines reduce the risk of flu-associated illness, hospitalization, and death.

The Centers for Disease Control says people over age 65, children under age two, and people with a wide variety of diseases and health conditions, are at higher risk for serious complications from flu, including death.

It takes approximately two weeks after the administration of the vaccine for the body to build up sufficient immunity to prevent the flu.

According to the MDHHS, flu vaccines are widely available at local health departments, physicians offices and pharmacies around the state. You can find a location using Vaccine Finder.

You can find more information about the flu and the vaccine at Michigan.gov/flu and at the Centers for Disease Control.

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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