COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado has seen a significant increase in flu vaccinations this season compared to last winter, according to the state health department. This increase corresponds to a drop in the number of people reporting flu-like symptoms in the state.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said as of Tuesday, more than 2 million Coloradans have gotten their flu vaccine. That’s a 16.3% increase from the same time last year.
The department said transmission of the flu has been limited by a combination of higher flu vaccine uptake and adoption of public health protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The department said outpatient clinics have reported flu-like illness in 0.71% of their patients this season. Normally, the seasonal baseline is 5.05% of patients.
Similarly, emergency departments have seen flu-like illness in just 0.62% of patient visits, compared to a baseline of 2.54% of patients.
The health department said so far this season, only 18 people have been hospitalized with the flu in Colorado.
Last winter, between September 29, 2019, and May 23, 2020, there were 3,546 flu-related hospitalizations in Colorado.
“The impressive numbers from this flu season so far show that Coloradans have been taking necessary actions to protect their health and the health of their communities,” executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said in a statement. “But while flu activity is unusually low at this time, it may still increase in the coming months. It’s not too late to get the flu shot, and it’s more important than ever so we can maintain our hospital capacity through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend everyone age 6 months and older get the flu vaccine if they have not done so already. It’s the best way to protect against the flu and its potentially serious complications, and prevent further strain on our health care systems. ”
The flu season lasts from late September to May, and typically peaks around February or March.
To find out where to get a flu vaccine, visit vaccinefinder.org.