Bad Flu Seaon Arrives, Protect Yourself with a Vaccine

Reported cases of influenza across the state are more than 10 times higher than the peak in 2021-22

Flu stickers and vaccines.
Influenza vaccinations are still available from Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. Image courtesy of University Communications.

The 2022-23 flu season is here, and it’s already a bad one. If you haven’t already received your influenza vaccination, experts say it’s time to go ahead and get it.

“It’s already a severe season and there are high numbers of cases now,” said Dr. Carol Epling, executive director of Duke Employee Occupational Health & Wellness. “We expect them to continue to rise.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity usually begins in October and peaks between December and February. While it’s only just begin, the 2022-23 flu season is off to a severe start.

Chart showing influenza cases. Data collected by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed that reported cases of influenza across the state are now more than 10 times higher than the peak of the 2021-22 season. For the week ending Nov. 5, 2022, there were 2,929 cases of influenza reported compared to a peak of just 274 cases during the week ending Dec. 18, 2021. 

With such widespread circulation of influenza, faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible and to upload official documentation of their vaccination record.

The influenza vaccination is a condition of employment for employees of Duke University Health System and the Duke University School of Medicine. The deadline to show proof of vaccination or receive an approved exemption was Tuesday.

Carol Epling For Duke University staff and faculty, the influenza vaccine is strongly encouraged. According to Epling, as of the beginning of this week, 44 percent of the Duke University workforce had received their influenza vaccine and documented it with Duke. Epling said these numbers are slightly behind what they were last year.

Duke staff and faculty can get walk-in flu vaccinations at no cost at from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Employee Occupational Health and Wellness clinic in the Duke South Orange Zone, or by appointment at the Duke employee vaccination clinics in Duke Medical Pavilion or on Morreene Road.

If Duke staff and faculty members received an influenza vaccination somewhere other than a Duke employee clinic – including at a Duke Primary Care office – they are encouraged to document their vaccination status with Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness through its online reporting system, which can be found here.

“We’d love to know if you’re vaccinated and we certainly want you to send us that information, but the most important thing is that you get vaccinated,” Epling said. 

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