FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rich Harris, 860-524-7313
January 10, 2010 email@example.com
Governor M. Jodi Rell today is reminding residents that because the typical peak in flu season is still weeks away, getting a flu shot is still one of the most important safeguards for staying healthy this winter. The Governor’s announcement comes as the state prepares to recognize National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs from January 10-16.
“Fortunately we have seen a statewide drop in flu activity – both H1N1 and seasonal flu – but this is no time to let your guard down,” Governor Rell said. “Faced with the swine flu pandemic this season, the state Department of Public Health has done a commendable job in making sure the H1N1 vaccine is now available to anyone who wants it. Vaccination and common sense hygiene are still the best preventive measures for staying healthy.”
The Governor said the state has received more than 1 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine from the federal government since it became available this fall, and more vaccine is available. State public health officials say the second wave of the H1N1 outbreak, that began this fall, is in decline.
According to DPH, an average of 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from the flu. Normally in Connecticut, the flu season begins after Thanksgiving and peaks in January or February. The second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic began in the state in mid-October and peaked in the third week of November. Although, cases of H1N1 flu are on the decline, it is expected that the state will continue to see cases of H1N1 flu in the next coming weeks. While the state has seen thousands of H1N1 flu cases, seasonal flu activity has remained low.
To date, there have been 3,164 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Connecticut in the second wave of the pandemic. This number is likely only a fraction of actual cases of H1N1 flu as many cases are mild enough that they can be treated at home and do not require medical attention.
“We still expect to see additional cases of H1N1 flu over the next few weeks,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Robert Galvin. “People should continue doing what they can to protect themselves from the flu and getting vaccinated is the best way to do it. Experience from past influenza pandemics, tells us that there may be a third wave of illness associated with H1N1.”
In mid-December, the Governor announced that the H1N1 vaccine was now available to all those who wished to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus. The vaccine was first made available to priority groups, such as pregnant women, small children and first responders, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are two separate vaccines this flu season. One vaccine protects people from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus and the second vaccine protects people from seasonal flu. People who would like to be vaccinated against seasonal or H1N1 flu should contact their health care provider or visit www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch/fluclinic for information on finding a clinic in their area. Vaccinations are also available for the H1N1 flu at public clinics at no charge. A list of public clinics is available online at http://www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch/lib/ctfluwatch/h1n1/clinic_list.pdf.
For more information on H1N1 flu, please go to www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch.