With flu season in full swing and more than a dozen flu-related deaths reported in the Bay Area as of Monday, many residents are getting vaccinated, and flu shot providers are ordering extra doses to keep up with demand.
There have been 15 confirmed flu deaths in the Bay Area so far, with one more each reported Monday in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties and two more in Santa Clara County.
In San Mateo County, there have been two deaths including one reported Monday. One patient had underlying medical conditions but the other did not. Both are confirmed H1N1 cases. The county also has six flu-related intensive care unit hospitalizations as of Monday. In Santa Clara County, there have been four flu deaths this season, including the two reported yesterday. Those two victims were 61 and 62 years old.
The two previous victims, who died in December, were a 61-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman, Santa Clara County Public Health Department spokeswoman Amy Cornell said.
Santa Cruz County’s first flu death was reported Monday. The victim was a male under the age of 50, county health officials said.
The deaths of two other males under 50 in the county are suspected of being flu-related but that has yet to be confirmed, according to the county.
Other deaths have been reported in Sonoma, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco and Alameda counties this winter.
This year’s flu shot includes protection against the H1N1 strain, known as the “swine flu.” H1N1, which first emerged in humans in 2009, is more dangerous to young and middle-age adults than other flu strains.
Bay Area residents have been heading out in droves to get flu shots in recent days. The higher demand has caused the flu vaccine supply to dwindle at some pharmacies and health centers.
Kaiser’s Northern California region expects to receive more than 40,000 more doses in the next few days to meet demand.
San Mateo County has no shortage of the flu vaccine and continues encouraging residents to get vaccinated, said Health System spokeswoman Robyn Thaw.
The vaccine takes about two weeks after inoculation to be fully effective, according to health officials.