Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 |
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No worries; vaccine arrived, influenza slight
By LESTER CHANG
TGI Staff Writer
When flu season loomed on the horizon at the start of the winter last September, state health officials fretted because of a delay in the delivery of the vaccine nationwide.
Six months later, they are breathing a sigh of relief because sufficient amounts of the vaccine reached the state and were administered, keeping the number of flu cases down.
While statistics for past flu seasons in Hawai’i were not available as a point of comparison, health officials reported the flu activity this time around was slight.
Still, the state Department of Health is encouraging people who have not taken the vaccination shot to get one. Travelers, in particular, are at a higher risk of getting the flu due to the large number of people they will encounter, says department officials.
Failure to be vaccinated might have dire consequences for people who have chronic diseases, such as diabetes. If these people don’t get yearly shots, they could be at risk for life-threatening influenza and pneumonia infections, according to the Center for the Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawai’i State Diabetes Control program.
Flu activity reached a peak in January and is on the decline now, according to a Department of Health representative who asked not be identified.
“Schools did have some absences due to the flu, as expected, but the season was mild,” the spokesperson said.
Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned there would be a delay in the delivery of the flu vaccine nationwide because some manufacturers had difficulty growing the components for the vaccine.
In Hawai’i, some doctors and medical providers got the vaccine and others didn’t, depending on which vaccine manufacturers they did business with, according to a state health official.
The official hadn’t heard of any vaccine shortages on Kaua’i, but said it was possible some doctors still had not received the vaccine.
In such cases, people can go to a medical provider who has the vaccine and can administer the shot, the state official said. There were no mass public immunization clinics on Kaua’i to administer the shots.
Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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