As seasonal influenza continues to hit earlier and harder than it has in recent years, healthcare and government officials are working to get more people vaccinated.
The message that the American Public Health Association is trying to get out is that “it's not too late by any means to get your vaccination,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the APHA. Benjamin said he expects the situation to get worse and the best thing that can be done is to get more people inoculated.
In Boston, where Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency Wednesday, 21 community health centers committed to providing free clinics this weekend where people can get the vaccine. In addition, close to 45,000 residents will be called through the city's automated call system suggesting they get vaccinated.
In its last weekly flu tracker, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 5.6% of visits to healthcare providers are for influenza-like illnesses—which is already above last year's decidedly milder peak of 2.2%.