With flu hospitalizations rising, Hidalgo County urges vaccinations

A Walgreens Pharmacy digital sign advices motorist the availability of flu shots in August in Brownsville. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Flu hospitalizations are on the rise throughout Hidalgo County, prompting officials to advise residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The county is now reporting 27 people are hospitalized with the flu while 10 of those individuals are in intensive care units.

In their last update on Sept. 30, the county had reported 24 people were hospitalized with the flu with three of those individuals being in the ICU.

With the rising cases, the county is urging the public to get their vaccine.

“Get your Flu Vaccine ASAP,” the county wrote on social media Friday. “Protect family, friends, and co-workers.”

The county’s advisory comes just days after the state officials encouraged Texans to get their flu vaccine.

On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services recommended that eligible Texans get their flu vaccine now, noting it takes about two weeks for the body to make flu antibodies after getting the vaccine.

“Because influenza can be a very serious disease, we recommend that all individuals aged 6 months and older get their flu vaccine every year,” Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS interim commissioner, stated in a news release.

“The flu vaccines for the 2022-23 flu season have undergone substantial changes since last season, which will allow them to better protect against the flu viruses that are currently circulating,” Shuford added. “So it is important to go get this season’s flu vaccine before flu activity increases even more in Texas.”

State health officials also said people can safely get both a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine or booster without losing the effectiveness of either.

“If you are due for both a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 booster dose, you can get them at the same visit,” Shuford said. “Both flu and COVID-19 can cause severe disease, so it is a good idea to stay up-to-date with both of these vaccines.”

For more information, the public can contact Hidalgo County Health and Human Services at (956) 383-6221.