Flu epidemic continues, public urged to still get flu shot

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The U.S. government’s Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 flu report showed the flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as intense as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – We’re reaching the height of the deadly flu season. Doctors are continuing to spread the word that flu shots can be lifesaving, despite this season’s shot being less effective.

Three out of the four of the kids who have died from the flu this season did not get the flu shot.

Cases of the flu are leveling out indicating we may have reached the peak, but doctors still encouraging people to get the flu shot.

Where to get the flu shot

Trish and her daughter Melissa – just coming from a doctor’s appointment after the 12-year-old successfully fought off the flu.

“I laid on the couch and watched TV and slept a lot,” Melissa Bibbi said.

Like many parents, Trish Bibbi didn’t insist her daughter get a flu shot after hearing it’s only about 25 percent effective on the dominant strain.

“Chances were slim that it would help,” Trish said.

It’s that kind of thinking that Doctor Saperstone wants to change.

“36 percent effectiveness is better than zero effectiveness. This could mean the difference between ending up in the hospital and probably dying,” Dr. Saperstone said.

More than half of kids who got the flu vaccine have avoided the doctor’s office, including 9-year-old James.

“Especially if you have kids that’s, a child that’s at risk, that could be detrimental to their life,” Minda Briaddy said.

James is a Make-a-Wish kid and he’s going to Disney and mom Minda has stocked up on flu masks for the trip.

“Hand sanitizer wherever we go, my bag is full.”

Last week, one in every 13 visits to the doctor were for flu-like symptoms. There were more than 16,000 new cases of the flu, but encouragingly, three percent fewer hospitalizations.

“Flu season is almost over so I might have a chance to make it through,” James said.

Minda is taking every precaution to keep James safe and fear of the flu won’t stop them from going on the trip of a lifetime.

“It’s worth the risk I think.”

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