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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging Michiganders to get their flu vaccine amid the first influenza A outbreak of the season.

MDHHS is also encouraging Michiganders to get the COVID-19 vaccine and is recommending that people wear masks indoors and to social distance from others.

“As we head into respiratory virus season, it is important to take every mitigation measure we can to prevent outbreaks of the flu, RSV, and COVID-19,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “Wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and getting vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 will help prevent the spread of illness. COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time, and we encourage all eligible Michiganders to get theirs as soon as possible.”

Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of 525 cases of influenza A among University of Michigan students. The outbreak comes at the same time as COVID-19 cases surge in the state.

Flu vaccine administrations are down compared to previous seasons. There is a 26% decrease in flu vaccination from this time last year.

Flu symptoms can be very serious and potentially deadly for children, older people, and people with chronic health conditions.

Mitigation measures such as masking and social distancing from COVID-19 infection contributed to a below-average number of flu cases last season, according to health experts.