It's flu season, so public health officials are pushing the flu shot, but many in the Mountain West are particularly bad at taking that advice.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho rank among the bottom ten states for the percentage of adults who get vaccinated. Other Western states also have rates below the national average.
"Last season we had 23 flu-related deaths in Wyoming," said Kim Deti, of the Wyoming Department of Health. "We see hundreds of hospitalizations every year. We see thousands of cases. Flu is something not to be overlooked."
Deti says her department is trying various outreach efforts to improve vaccination rates, including community events and press briefings. The department even has someone dressing up in a flu bug costume who's giving out flyers on the dangers of flu, which can be deadly.
With a few exceptions, the CDC advises that everyone six months of age and older get a flu shot each fall. The vaccinations are updated according to the strains that most likely will circulate around the U.S. Flu season usually ends by May.
Find more information from the Wyoming Department of Health here.
Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.