The Livingston County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are urging people who have not yet gotten their flu vaccination to do so.

Flu season is well underway. To date, there have been 19 local cases total so far this flu season - with 12 of those reported this week. Livingston County Medical Director Dr. Donald Lawrenchuk tells WHMI that despite the recent flu-related death in Michigan, it’s not too late to get your flu shot. The Michigan flu fatality occurred in Osceola County.

National influenza vaccination week was held earlier this month, as a way to promote public awareness about the importance of the flu vaccine. Dr. Lawrenchuk says it also provided a reminder for those who have put it off, to get their flu shot at the earliest time possible. He says that although it takes up to two weeks for the shot to take effect, it’s still a significant protection against the illness. According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Michigan is lagging behind many other states in residents getting their flu shots. Only 39.5% of Michigan citizens reported receiving their flu shots last year, compared to the national average of 42%. Last year’s influenza season was the worst since the 2009 epidemic pandemic, with more than 79,000 fatalities reported. (TT)