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Flu vaccines hit record numbers this season

A healthcare worker swabs a child's shoulder.

Jan. 15, 2021—This flu season has seen a higher number of people get vaccinated against the flu than ever before, with nearly 190 million doses delivered by early December. That's great news. Because of the pandemic, it is especially important for people to get flu vaccinations this year. Doing so can help ease the pressure on hospitals that are busy caring for COVID-19 patients.

Who's still at risk?

While vaccination rates are high this year for many groups, that's not been true across the board. Vaccination rates among Black children fell by 9 percentage points compared to last flu season. And coverage among pregnant women fell by 3 percentage points compared to the previous year.

Both those groups are at increased risk for complications from the flu. In young children, severe flu can lead to pneumonia, dehydration or, in rare cases, even death.

Pregnant women are also more likely than their nonpregnant peers to get severe illness from the flu. It can even harm their babies. Vaccination during pregnancy, on the other hand, helps protect babies because moms pass their antibodies on to babies before birth.

It's not too late

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu generally peaks between December and February. That means it's not too late to get a flu shot now.

If you or your child hasn't received a flu shot yet, call your doctor's office or pharmacy to arrange to get one. It's the best way to protect yourself against the flu this season.

To find other locations where it's available near you, check out the Vaccine Finder website.

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