For anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated, Adamski urged them to do so.
“It’s still not too late to get a vaccine,” she said. “If you have not been vaccinated, know it’s still out there and the vaccine is still available. Be aware it is a very active season.”
Also, she said, simple steps like frequent hand washing, sneezing into your elbow, staying home from work and school when you’re ill all matter — a lot.
“We can’t say it enough,” she said.
The vaccine this year has been a good match for the strain of flu being seen, although it’s not a guarantee a shot will prevent the flu. But, Adamski said, it usually does mean a less severe case and a shorter run of illness.
The state doesn’t track vaccination rates, except in the under age-19 population and reports from institutions, including long-term care facilities.
All vaccines are free in New Hampshire for anyone under the age of 19. To date, the state has distributed 155,230 such flu vaccines and 103,680 of those have been administered.
But, Adamski said, vaccination rates in institutions vary widely, from lows near 70 percent to some as high as 90 percent.
Thirteen people died of flu-related illnesses last month here, a record high for December. To date this month, 22 deaths have been reported, also a record for the month.
“I don’t know that it’s alarming; we have to pay close attention to trends,” Adamski said. “It’s a high year certainly for influenza-related deaths. But our methods and systems of tracking data have changed. We have to take it in context.”