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Worst flu season since 2017 is here

Kaiser Permanente
Data suggests this flu season is the worst since 2017. Health officials say the vaccine offers good protection this year because it contains the same three strains that are circulating.

Health officials say we are in the worst flu season since 2017. And we’ve got weeks to go with the season not expected to peak in Oregon until mid to late January.

Counting emergency department visits and positive Influenza tests, data suggests this flu season matches in severity to one five years ago-- pre-pandemic.

influenza virus.jpg
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Influenza Type A (H1n1) Type A (H2N2) and Type B Victoria are in the flu vaccine, and these are also the strains are circulating in Lane County, health officials say.

Lane County Public Health’s Jason Davis said while we were in lockdown, protecting ourselves from COVID-19, it’s likely our immune systems became naïve to other respiratory illnesses (like HPV and Influenza.) Now, that vulnerability is evidenced in lots of flu circulating. But, Davis says, there’s a silver lining.

“We know what works to prevent this. This year’s flu shot is a pretty good match for that Type A (H1n1,) Type A (H2N2) and then the Type B Victoria that’s in the vaccine,” he said. “That’s what we’re seeing circulating. So, they kind of nailed it with the types this year, putting them in the vaccine.”

Davis said, historically, only about 30% of the adult population in Lane County get a flu shot.

Flu shots are available through your medical provider, at most pharmacies and public health departments. Lane County Public Health’s Valley River Center Vaccine Clinic is open 1pm to 7pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.