MONTEREY — A third Monterey County victim has died from complications of the flu since the season began on Oct. 1, health officials confirmed Wednesday.
Details of the individual, such as age, gender and whether or not the victim had received an influenza vaccine are not known, said Karen Smith, the public information officer for the Monterey County Health Department.
It was the first flu-related death reported in the county in 2020.
Health officials are stressing that it is not too late to get flu shots. It takes about two weeks after an injection for the vaccine to take effect, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and since cases tend to peak in early February and run until April, it is still advisable to become inoculated against the flu.
People who are feeling ill should stay home from work, health officials said.
The disease is particularly dangerous for infants and the elderly, pregnant women or anyone with chronic health conditions, the CDC said. Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia.
Every year rumors emerge that flu shots can cause the flu, preventing some from becoming inoculated or vaccinating their children. Both the CDC and local health officials are adamant that catching the flu from vaccines is impossible since the vaccine is made up of dead, or attenuated, viruses.
Some people may have mild reactions or an allergic reaction if they are allergic to eggs, the medium in which viruses are grown for vaccines.
Some concern has circulated that the strains of virus used in this season’s vaccines are not the same as those that are sickening people. CDC does not have flu vaccine effectiveness estimates for this season yet because it is still early in the season. Smith and others, however, stress that being inoculated can lessen symptoms even if the strains are not an exact match.
Smith said she understands anecdotally that the vaccines are a good match for the strains that are sickening people this season.
Periodically throughout the flu season, the CDC will update vaccines as variants emerge. There have been three such updates to date in this flu season, according to the CDC.
Third Monterey County flu death reported