Hoosiers urged to get flu vaccine amid surge in flu cases

"Flu Shots" by KOMU News, CC BY 2.0

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials urged Indiana residents Monday to get vaccinated soon against influenza as hospitals face a surge in cases during a flu season that’s already claimed at least two dozen lives.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box said flu transmission levels are currently high across Indiana and many other states. She encouraged eligible Hoosiers to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and others from the “highly contagious respiratory infection” before they travel to family gatherings during the upcoming holidays.

“This year’s flu vaccine continues to be a good match for the circulating strains, and it is your best protection against a severe, and possibly tragic, outcome,” Box said in a news release.

As of the week ending Dec. 3, Indiana had recorded 24 influenza deaths this season. The state’s first pediatric flu death of the season was recorded last week, the Indiana Department of Health said.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the human body. Box said the flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the new COVID-19 booster, which protects against two strains of COVID-19, including new subvariants.

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor said Indiana’s hospitals are experiencing significant patient caseloads due to the many respiratory illnesses now circulating, including the flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

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