Flu season has arrived in Colorado and health officials are urging everyone to get vaccinated now. As of Oct. 20, 5 people have been hospitalized for the flu in Colorado.
The season arrives just months after the end of the worst flu season in recent history. About 4,650 people were hospitalized with the flu in Colorado during the 2017-2018 season. According to the CDC, nationwide, almost 80,000 people died of the flu.
The CDC says a drop in vaccination rates may have contributed to the severity of last season's widespread activity. Only 37.1 percent of adults in the U.S. got vaccinated last season, compared to more than 43 percent the year prior. Most years, the rates have been above 40 percent.
Men were the least likely to get a flu shot, particularly young men. The age group with the lowest rate was men ages 18-49. Only 23.8 percent of them got a flu shot in the 2017-2018 season.
Health officials say October is the best time to get a flu shot. It can take two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective.
UCHealth is offering a free flu shot clinic Saturday, Nov. 3 at Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree. Anybody from the age of 3 to 65 can get a shot, no insurance required, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The shots will be given out on level one of the mall next to Eco Mountain.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will release updated flu numbers every Tuesday now until May.