DOH urges people to get flu shot as deaths, hospitalizations rise in WA

The flu is spreading at a high rate and the current season is early this year, according to the Washington State Department of Health. 

Officials said flu deaths are at higher rates than usually seen this time of the year. As of Dec. 10, 40 people, including three children, have died from the flu in the state. 

The department of health is urging people 6 months and older to get a flu shot as soon as they can. 

"It’s not too late to get your flu shot, so we urge everyone aged 6 months and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible," said Umair A. Shah, MD, Secretary of Health. "Flu is spreading rapidly through our state and getting your flu shot now helps to protect us all, especially as we plan to gather for holidays and events."

Officials said the most common strain of flu seen so far this year is influenza A (H3N2). This strain typically causes more severe disease. All available flu vaccines provide protection against H3N2.

People can get the shot at most pharmacies, healthcare provider offices, and clinics. The flu vaccine can be received at the same time as any other vaccine.

Along with the flu, COVID-19 and RSV have made people sick and is overloading local hospitals, officials said.