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To help hospitals, Hoosiers urged to get vaccines after first flu-related death of season

By Darian Benson, IPB News | Published on in Health, Science, Statewide News
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a statement last year’s COVID-19 mitigations – like masks and staying home – resulted in some of the lowest flu deaths the state has seen. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Health experts are encouraging Hoosiers to get their flu vaccination after Indiana recorded the first flu related death of the season on Friday.

Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health’s Shandy Dearth said it is important for people to get flu shots to protect themselves and the state’s hospitals — which continue to be hit hard with COVID-19 cases.

“We’ve already, you know, surged the hospitals enough with COVID,” Dearth said. “You add flu on top of that, and that could be a very bad situation.”

In a news release, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said last year’s COVID-19 mitigations like masks and staying home resulted in some of the lowest flu deaths the state has seen.

Last flu season, the state recorded seven flu related deaths. That is compared to the 137 flu related deaths during the 2019-2020 flu season.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend anyone age 6 months and older get yearly flu shots to prevent complications like pneumonia and hospitalization. Pregnant women, children, immunocompromised people and the elderly are at higher risk.

Flu season typically runs October through May. The CDC recommends vaccination as soon possible, but it can be administered any time in the season.

Contact reporter Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @HelloImDarian.