Hospitalizations continue to rise in Colorado: Get your child/children vaccinated
STATEWIDE (November 21,2022 ) — Beginning today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will send text and email reminders to approximately 132,579 parents and guardians of children aged 6 months through 5 years old whose records in the Colorado Immunization Information System show they may be due for their annual flu vaccine. State health officials are working to increase flu vaccine uptake statewide as this flu season could be more severe than we have seen in years.
Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show seasonal flu activity is elevated across the country. Colorado’s hospitalization rates are now ahead of the 2017-2018 flu season (our most severe on record). In some southeastern states, flu hospitalization rates are already at levels seen during the fall 2009 H1N1 pandemic. CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 4,400,000 illnesses, 38,000 hospitalizations, and 2,100 deaths from flu in the United States. The cumulative hospitalization rate is higher than the rate observed at this point in flu season during every previous season since 2010-2011.
In Colorado, 72 people were hospitalized with flu during the week ending Nov. 12, 2022, for a total of 164 people hospitalized since Oct. 2.
“Flu is here in Colorado, and hospitalizations continue to rise,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer, CDPHE. “With pediatric RSV hospitalizations at elevated levels, and COVID-19 continuing to circulate, it is critical to ensure our children are healthy this fall and winter. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect your child and yourself this flu season. Get your annual flu vaccines for the family as soon as possible.”
Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to last year, but continues to lag behind 2020 rates. To date, more than 1,525,813 doses of flu vaccine have been administered across Colorado. CDPHE encourages all Coloradans aged 6 months and older to get their annual flu vaccine, particularly those at high risk of severe complications from the flu. This includes children under 5 years old, as well as adults aged 65 years and older, adults with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant people.
The text messages will come from 45778 and read:
State public health records show your child/children may be due for their annual flu vaccine. Protect your child/children against the flu. Contact a vaccine provider today! For locations near you, visit: https://www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/ Opt Out= Stop
Emails will come from firstname.lastname@example.org and read:
Dear Parent(s) or Guardian(s),
Colorado Immunization Information System records indicate that your child/children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years may be due for their annual flu vaccine. With respiratory viruses like the flu, COVID-19, and RSV circulating in Colorado right now, flu vaccination is important for children aged 5 years and younger who are at high risk of having serious complications if they get sick with the flu.
Protect your child/children against the flu by contacting a health care provider, a local public health agency, or a local pharmacy to make a vaccine appointment today. For locations near you, visit https://fluvaxcolorado.org/ and click “Find a Provider.”
If your child/children have already received their flu vaccine, let us know about it! You can update their record in the Colorado Immunization Information System by completing this secure Google form. **Please note you may need to submit multiple request forms for three or more children.
The Colorado Immunization Information System is a lifelong immunization record tracking system under the Colorado Immunization Registry Act of 2007. Your participation is voluntary.
For additional resources, visit each of the links below:
Medicare, Medicaid, CHP+, and most private health insurers cover the full cost of the flu vaccine. You don’t have to pay anything to health care providers that accept your health plan. If you don’t have health insurance, you can still get the flu vaccine for free at certain health care providers. Free vaccine providers, as well as additional information on flu vaccines, can be found at fluvaxcolorado.org. Protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu by contacting your health care provider, local public health agency, or pharmacy to make a vaccine appointment today.