U.S. health officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, are encouraging Americans to get their flu shots early this year.
Following the flu season hitting Australia unexpectedly early, the officials on Thursday said they are hoping to address the “importance” of getting the vaccination, according to an Axios report.
Officials fear that an early flu season in the U.S. could happen as well.
Confirmed flu cases have historically peaked in Australia between August and September, but this year the peak came in July. As of this week, the country has confirmed 272,146 cases of the flu, making it the worst flu season in Australia’s history.
There is often widespread hesitation to get the flu vaccine and it doesn’t have 100 percent effectiveness, but more and more research suggests that the vaccine is still the best way to prevent the serious and sometimes fatal symptoms of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially counts Oct. 1 as the first day of flu season in the U.S., however, two people have already died from the flu in California.
The CDC hasn’t finished totaling the fatalities from the 2018-19 flu season, but the 2017-18 flu was particularly deadly, killing over 80,000 people in the U.S.