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Flu season arrives as the pandemic wanes and people are starting to venture outside

A little girl tends to her stricken sister during the 1918 flu pandemic.
Library of Congress/Associated Press

A little girl tends to her stricken sister during the 1918 flu pandemic.

With heightened awareness and limited activity because of the pandemic, last year’s flu season was unremarkable in Southern Nevada.

However, nearly everything has reopened, including schools. Most people are gathering again. So officials are concerned the flu could strike back with a vengeance.

“The biggest concern is that since we did not have a lot of cases last year that people will not get the flu shot this year,” said JoAnn Rupiper, chief administrative nurse for the Southern Nevada Health District, which runs its own flu vaccine program.

Rupiper said healthcare workers will be using a full-court press to distribute the flu vaccine in Southern Nevada, which typically falls below the national average for the percentage of people vaccinated for the flu.

“What we're doing is pairing the COVID (vaccine) with the flu vaccine,” so when patients come in for one, they are offered the other as well, Rupiper said. “That's also a strategy that we're encouraging healthcare providers to do as well.”

Rupiper said it is too early in the flu season to know how severe it is going to be. An encouraging sign, she said, was the mild flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, which is now coming out of winter when cases peak.

​JoAnn Rupiper, chief administrative nurse, Southern Nevada Health District

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.