NMDOH recommends vaccination as flu season begins



NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  The New Mexico Department of Health has announced the start of the 2021-2022 influenza season. In a news release from the department, NMDOH states its Scientific Laboratory Division has confirmed flu infections among several individuals in the state as well an increasing number of positive influenza tests being reported from around New Mexico by clinical laboratories and outpatient facilities.

According to NMDOH, health care visits for respiratory illness and outbreaks are expected to increase in the coming weeks however, the exact peak of the flu season can’t be predicted. The department states that flu activity is increasing across the county with about 80% of positive results reported to CDC detected in children and young adults.

NMDOH is urging New Mexicans to get vaccinated against the flu in order to reduce the severity of illness, prevent hospitalization, and death, and prevent serious complications from a flu infection. Health officials state that due to minimal flu activity since March 2020, there may be more individuals who have less immunity against flu than during previous seasons because they weren’t exposed to the flu last year.

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The department explains that this could result in widespread flu infections with more serious illnesses that could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. This could additionally put more stress on New Mexico hospitals.

NMDOH recommends everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine each flu season. You can get the COVID-19 vaccine and influenza vaccine at the same time.

The following groups are strongly recommended to be vaccinated as they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for individuals at high risk:

  • Children younger than 5, expecially children younger than 2
    • Children ages 6 months through 8 years who have never been vaccinated against influenza or have an unknown vaccination history
  • Pregnant women and up to two weeks postpartum
  • People ages 65 and older
  • People of any age with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease, and the immunocompromosed
  • People living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu including healthcare presonnel and caregivers of babies younger than six months
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives

Those with health insurance are encouraged to contact their health care provider or pharmacist about getting a flu vaccine. NMDOH offers vaccinations for people without insurance or those who are otherwise not able to get vaccinated. If you are visiting a Public Health Office, you are asked to please bring your insurance or Medicaid card.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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