While the flu is now widespread in Massachusetts, it’s still sporadic in Rhode Island. But 16 Rhode Islanders have already been hospitalized, and officials expect the number of cases to spike.
Health department officials say so far there have been no flu deaths, but in past years flu has killed well over a hundred people in Rhode Island. They say one of this year’s dominant strains in Rhode Island and nationally is H1N1, but that’s also one of the strains this year’s vaccine protects against.
This year, a growing number of Rhode Islanders – more than 430,000 – have taken the health department’s advice to get vaccinated.
The vaccine is recommended for anyone older than six months, but especially people who are at higher risk of catching the flu. It’s not 100 percent effective, but health officials say it’s better to have some protection than none at all.