ILLINOIS — Health officials are worried the pandemic may have prevented people from getting flu shots setting up a “double whammy” during the influenza season.
The website QuoteWizard ranked all 50 states based on child flu vaccination rates, and Illinois was found to have a 54.9 percent rate, ranking it the 18th lowest in the country. Nationwide, child flu vaccination rates have declined by an estimated 21.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic from January to April 2020.
Health care industry expert Adam Johnson says with vaccinations down this year, hospitals may get overwhelmed during the flu season.
“There is likely to be an overwhelming effect on hospitals or health care capacities to treat not only patients with COVID-19, but also the flu,” Johnson said.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, over the past decade, influenza and pneumonia have been associated with an average of 35-hundred deaths a year in Illinois. Since 1992, the highest number of flu deaths was 4,021 in 1993. During most flu seasons, which typically runs from October through May, between 10 and 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza viruses.
The in-class schooling debate is a polarizing issue among Americans.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants kids back into the classroom as long as it is safe to do so. Some health experts are advising against in-person instruction. The primary argument against opening schools is the safety of students and faculty from contracting the coronavirus. Influenza adds another layer.
The Centers for Disease Control is trying to get the upper hand before influenza season hits by giving $140 million to immunization programs around the country.
The Center Square – Kevin Bessler