Hutchinson encourages Arkansans to get flu vaccine to avoid ‘twindemic’
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose R. Romero used Tuesday’s weekly briefing to encourage citizens to roll up their sleeves and get a flu vaccine.
Both men began the briefing by getting the shot.
Hutchinson said the purpose of getting the vaccination publicly was to remind everyone that flu season is here.
“It’s important to get the flu shot,” Hutchinson said. “We can’t neglect the importance of a flu shot.”
He noted that the percentage of outpatient visits due to flu-like illness is higher this year than in years past.
“We could be entering a challenging time if we all don’t get the flu shot this year,” the governor said.
During the 2017-18 season, 228 people died of influenza, making it the “deadliest year.”
Last year, only 23 people died of the flu. The governor said public health precautions, including masking and social distancing, contributed to the decline.
Romero echoed the governor’s advice, saying the state did not want a “twindemic” with spikes in both COVID-19 and influenza.
“We have that potential to happen this year as we have done away with social distancing and masking,” Romero said. “It’s really important you get the vaccine, not just for adults but for children.”
Flu vaccines are available to those six months of age and older. The shots are free at the state’s local health units.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The governor reported 502 new cases of coronavirus and 14 new deaths in the last 24 hours. Currently, 380 people are hospitalized and 113 are on ventilators.
Since Feb. 1, those who are unvaccinated make up the majority of cases:
- 86.8% of cases are unvaccinated
- 88.8% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated
- 87.2% of deaths since Feb. 1, 2021.
Watch the full briefing live here>>>
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