The second week in December, flu cases were reported at 23 cases in Williams County. A week later that number tripled, hitting 62 and another 61 cases the final week.
“The influenza numbers are so high because of the lack of vaccinations in a large portion of our population which tends to be the younger population. The ten and under,” said Shannon Shepherd, Certified Nurse.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health, only 47 percent of children age 6 months to 4 years have received a flu vaccine. Money, for the most part, has not been the issue as there are many places that offer free vaccinations it’s usually the lack of knowledge or misconceptions that people can’t get rid of.
“This is because in the past they got the vaccine and got the flu. They have never got the flu, so why do I need a vaccine? Some people don’t feel like they’re at risk for getting the flu. All of these excuses are not holding up,” said Shepherd.
In fact, they’re only making things worse.
“We have currently placed restrictions on visitors under the age of 18. You must be 18 or older to come up to labor and delivery or postpartum to visit family and friends. If the outbreaks increase even more, then we are going to make flu restrictions: no one in the room or postpartum at all,” said Shepherd.
But, to be on the safe side.
“Please get your flu vaccine. It’s never too late, even if you feel like you had the flu. You could get a second strand. so get vaccinated, not only for you but for our most vulnerable population which are out children,” said Shepherd.