WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- We keep hearing about how bad the flu is this year, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of deaths from flu and pneumonia is above epidemic levels. It also doesn’t help that there is a flu vaccine shortage.
The Illinois Health Director says so far this flu season, 27 people who were in the intensive care unit have died from flu-related complications. In Winnebago County, there have been two deaths.
The flu is continuing to spread. 47 states are now reporting widespread flu activity, up from 41 states just last week. As people get their flu shots, some pharmacies are starting to run out of vaccines. While that's not the case yet for SwedishAmerican Hospital, they are seeing an increase in patients with the flu.
“Last week we saw the largest increase with 30-50 additional patients per day. SwedishAmerican has opened up a flu clinic here at the hospital so we’ve tried to divert some of those patients from our emergency departments into another area so we can treat them faster," said Kirk Schubert Doctor of Pharmacy and Emergency Medicine.
The flu vaccine is only about 60% effective, so you could still get the flu even if you get a flu shot. However, the vaccine is supposed to make the symptoms milder and cut down on the amount of time you’re sick.
It’s projected that manufactures will produce about 135 million doses of the flu vaccine this season. That’s enough to vaccinate a little more than a third of the U.S. population.