The flu season is nearing its traditional end, but doctors and health officials are still recommending that people who haven’t caught the sickness should get vaccinated.
In the first three weeks of February, more than 60 people went to the Johnson County Health Department to get a flu shot. That’s higher than the monthly average from October to the end of January, which is the traditional time most people get flu shots, said Lisa Brown, the director of nursing at the Johnson County Health Department.
In typical years, flu season has already wound down by February, but this year health officials have seen an uptick in people getting the vaccination due to a much lengthier flu season.
Johnson County is one of 15 counties in Indiana where at least five people have died as a result of the flu. Overall, 219 people have died from the flu in Indiana this season, compared to 103 in the 2016-17 season and 69 in the 2015-16 season, according to state data.
“We still highly recommended that you still get it if you haven’t yet,” Brown said.
Whenever she has people coming in to get another type of vaccination, Brown always makes sure to check and see if they had already gotten a flu shot, she said.
“Typically when we have people on the fence, we will mention it has been bad this season, and that it isn’t too late to be vaccinated,” she said.
Because of how long the flu season has lasted and how many people have been getting sick, getting vaccinated now could still be beneficial, said Dr. Christopher Doehring, the vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health Indianapolis.
While both the percent of patients going to emergency rooms and health clinics with an influenza-like illness dropped from Feb. 9 to March 2, the amount of people remained at its highest point since 2014 for this time of the year, state data showed.