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State shoots for four million flu shots this year

Flu shot
Flu shot

Michigan health officials are hoping 4 million residents will get a flu shot this year — over half a million more than last flu season.

Annual immunization rates have been decreasing in recent years as vaccine hesitancy spreads.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian is the state health department’s chief medical executive. She said lower immunity at home, plus new numbers from the southern hemisphere, show Michigan is looking at a potentially more severe flu season.

“There are children who have never before experienced influenza, and so some of that natural immunity that we have in the population, we don’t really have because flu has been so mild the last two flu seasons,” she said.

Bagdasarian said having as much dialogue as possible with healthcare professionals helps fight vaccine hesitancy.

The push for flu shots coincides with the availability of new COVID-19 booster shots. The boosters are formulated specifically for more contagious Omicron subvariants.

Bagdasarian said there’s enough flu and COVID shots available for anyone who wants to get one.

“Some of the early obstacles that we saw were things like storage and understanding the different types of vaccines and doses that need to be administered to different age groups. We are overcoming those logistics and it’s becoming more and more easy for clinicians and for clinical settings to give these vaccines,” she said.

The state is encouraging people to get their flu shot and COVID booster at the same time.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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