State Health Officials Remind People To Get Flu Vaccines As Death Toll Spikes

ARKANSAS (KFSM) — The number of people who have died from flu-related illnesses this season in Arkansas has jumped 50 percent in the last week.

That's why State Health Officials are now reminding people to get vaccinated.

The death toll in Arkansas is now at 57, with 19 more deaths added in the latest weekly report. 70 percent of those were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccine history, according to the report.

This year's vaccine does cover strains of the flu that have been detected and "herd immunity" helps protect the young and the old.

"Well, it's really important that people who can get vaccinated, get vaccinated because there are some groups of people who can't. And the very old, the elderly, may not respond as strongly to a flu vaccine. So we need to isolate them by having everyone around them vaccinated," said Arkansas State Epidemiologist, Dr. Dirk Haselow.

Dr. Haselow says if you get vaccinated now you will be protected in about two weeks.

So far this season five nursing home in Arkansas have reported flu outbreaks and there has been one pediatric death.

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