16 people dead, 700 hospitalized in Salt Lake County from flu-related illnesses

Utah mother Sabrina Vierra Clark passed away on February 6 after complications brought on by the flu (Photo: Clark family)

(KUTV)-- This year is considered to be one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade.

In Salt Lake County at least 16 people have died from flu-related illnesses. The Salt Lake County Health Department said it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

That includes a 41-year-old Utah mother who died after flu complications.

“It’s late in the season, but there’s plenty of time to receive the vaccine. The flu is around until April,” Nicholas Rupp, with the health department said.

But, some ask, is the flu shot helping? The health department says yes.

“Even if you catch the flu after being vaccinated, you are more likely to have a less severe illness and a shorter illness if you’ve been vaccinated,” Rupp said.

This year in Salt Lake County, nearly 700 people were hospitalized because of the flu. The health department say only 3 percent of those people received a flu shot.

“We know the vaccine is pretty effective against the Influenza B strains, it’s less effective against Influenza A strains,” Rupp said.

The CDC currently estimates the vaccine is about 33 percent effective in preventing illness.

Still, the health department said, when we're talking about a sickness that could be fatal, some protection is always better than nothing.

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