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State and hospitals holding vaccination events as flu season starts

Nick Ciolino / Delaware Public Media
Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay gives DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker her flu vaccine

The flu season is now officially underway and the state and area hospitals are holding mass vaccination events.

Gov. John Carney and other state officials were among hundreds of Delawareans getting their flu vaccine Tuesday at the third annual Division of Public Health drive-thru flu clinic in Dover.

And Christiana Care Health System says it plans to vaccinate almost all of its 12,000 employees at an event Thursday.

Delaware Secretary of Health and Social Services Dr. Kara Odom Walker says mass immunization events prepare the state for the possibility of an epidemic breakout.

“If there were a huge public health or national emergency, we would need to set up these kind of pop up stations anywhere we could—parking lots, grocery stores. And this is a way to test our readiness, so we’re doing a lot of back-of-the-store assessments to see if we can get ready, administer them quickly and get people in and out as fast as we can,” said Walker.

Last flu season broke state records. Delaware recorded more than 9,000 flu cases, with more than 1,200 hospitalizations and 35 flu-related deaths.

The state has already seen 16 early flu cases this season, but Delaware Director of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay says it’s difficult to tell if this year will be as bad as last.

“Whenever you have a prevalent flu strain in one season you're going to see that one in your next vaccine. It’s a little bit of a high level scientific predicting game,” said Rattay.

The state is urging all Delawareans 6 months and older to get their vaccinations before the end of the month.

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