Flu outbreak hits University of Michigan

▶ Watch Video: Michigan emerges as COVID hotspot as concerns about flu season grow

Michigan is dealing with its first flu outbreak, local and state health departments report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are is investigating the nearly 530 influenza cases reported at the University of Michigan—77% of them among the unvaccinated.  

While 98% of their student population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, only about a third have had the flu shot.

Dr. Lindsey Mortenson, the university’s medical director, blamed those numbers on “vaccine hesitancy or people just not making time to get it done.”

“There’s vaccine fatigue and they think the COVID vaccine protects against the flu virus, which it doesn’t. So I think there’s a lot of work we can do to keep our campus educated,” Mortenson said.

Another concern for University of Michigan officials is the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

They are worried students traveling back home for the holiday will become potentially more vulnerable to contracting the virus and spreading it once they come back.

“Michigan is also seeing some other viruses like RSV and influenza, which the state hasn’t seen in more than a year,” said Dr. David Donaldson, chief of emergency medicine at Beaumont Hospital.  

“That is a big difference as well,” Donaldson said.

The state is also seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people, health officials say.

The Food and Drug Administration moved to expand its emergency authorization of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults on Friday.

In Royal Oak, 73-year-old Twyilla Harrelson has been hospitalized for two months with COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated.

“If you’re not vaccinated, I tell you flat out you are a fool because that’s the worst thing that you can do is get out and spread this disease,” Harrelson told “CBS Mornings” lead national correspondent David Begnaud. 

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