DHEC to Provide Biweekly, Statewide Flu Vaccination Data as Part of Ongoing Virus Monitoring
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 22, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — As part of statewide monitoring of one of the most active influenza (flu) seasons in recent years, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has begun tracking flu vaccination numbers and will provide those numbers every two weeks, beginning Wednesday, Nov. 23.
“We don’t routinely track flu vaccine numbers but feel the need to provide that additional data to the public using our Statewide Immunization Online Network (SIMON),” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist. “DHEC is charged with determining when additional public health data can help individuals make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Our hope is that more South Carolinians will decide to roll up their sleeves and get their flu shot.”
DHEC will post vaccination numbers every other Wednesday to the agency’s Flu Watch page at scdhec.gov/health/flu/flu-watch-data-reports-maps. Data also will be shared on the agency’s social media pages. SIMON capabilities include tracking flu vaccinations by age. No other demographical information will be available at this time.
The 2022-2023 flu season has been one of the most active ones in recent years, both nationally and in South Carolina, due to a season that began earlier than usual. South Carolina has experienced over100 times more flu cases and nearly 50 times more hospitalizations than this time last year. DHEC’s latest weekly Flu Watch report shows 23,343 lab-confirmed cases, 1,003 hospitalizations, and 11 deaths this season. At this time last flu season, there were only 219 lab-confirmed cases, 21 hospitalizations and 1 death.
DHEC strongly encourages all eligible South Carolina residents to get their flu vaccination. The vaccine is available for everyone 6 months and older and provides the best protection against the virus.
“We know the winter months and holiday season are times when families and friends gather in large groups,” said Bell. “These can unfortunately become breeding grounds for virus spread, if not handled properly. So, we encourage everyone from grandparents to college students to get their shot, and we ask parents to get their young children vaccinated against this deadly virus.”
Visit DHEC’s flu page for more on preventative measures, treatment and other related topics.