Flu cases rise as vaccination rates remain low across Massachusetts – Boston 25 News

Flu cases rise as vaccination rates remain low across Massachusetts – Boston 25 News

Mass — The latest data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows that flu severity is in the red, “very high” zone across the state.

In the past week, 5,462 people fell ill with the flu. That’s up from 2,846 new cases the week before.

Small children and the elderly are the most affected. Children younger than 4 and adults older than 65 currently account for more than two-thirds of all flu-related hospitalizations.

With the numbers on the rise, only 37.9% of eligible Massachusetts residents have received the flu shot.

That’s below the national average and worries some doctors.

“40% to 50% of the eligible population has received the flu vaccine alone,” said Dr. Andrew Pekosz, professor of virology and vice president of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. “Vaccines on the shelf are useless. It is the vaccines that are in the hands of the people.”

The data also shows that the percentage of visits due to flu-like illness in Massachusetts was 5.74%, higher than the regional baseline of 2.0% and higher than the previous three seasons in the same week.

“It’s not too late to get your flu shot,” the state’s website says. “A flu shot is always the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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