According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 40% of Americans have gotten the flu shot this year.
December is usually the flu season peak, but officials with the El Paso Health Department say we won’t be reaching that point until next year.
The lead epidemiologist at the health department, Fernando Gonzalez, tells NewsChannel 9 that the Borderland sees the most flu activity around January and February because those are the coldest months in our region.
Gonzalez says 36 flu cases have been reported this year in El Paso County, compared to 24 for this time in 2015.
Last season, he adds that about 6,000 people got the flu, and two of them were deadly cases.
Dr. Chioma J. Mgbokwere with the Hospitals of Providence says ever since the temperatures started dropping, she started seeing more patients come into her office.
Health experts urge the community to get vaccinated now because it takes a while for the flu shot to be effective.
“It takes about two weeks for you to get the immunity, so if you get the flu shot today, you (shouldn’t) expect yourself to be prevented from the flu right away,” said Dr. Mgbokwere.
The CDC says the vaccine protected 5 million Americans last year. This year, health officials are not recommending the nasal spray flu vaccine because studies found it to be ineffective.