Flu activity expected to pick up in RI in new year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s health department expects flu to pick up in the coming weeks and is continuing to recommend vaccination.

Health officials report increased flu activity in the last two weeks. There have been 16 influenza hospitalizations, but no reported deaths.

The department recommends vaccination for anyone over 6 months, especially pregnant women, seniors and people with chronic medical conditions. Spokesman James Palmer says vaccination is also particularly important this year for young adults and children, as they’re more affected by the current strain than other types.

About 430,700 Rhode Islanders have been vaccinated this year, up from 410,900 by this point last year. Stephanie Chafee, a nurse and the wife of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, said in launching the vaccination campaign she hoped 800,000 people would get immunized.

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