NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More people in recent memory are getting sick from the flu in North Texas and doctors are alarmed about what could be a new reason why.
Over the last week, 800 patients at Cook Children's Medical Center have tested positive for the flu, and that's as many as anyone can remember.
In Dallas County, an alarming increase and doctors said that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has now resulted in many more people refusing seasonal flu shots.
Inside Cook Children's Medical Center, beds are full and wait times are long all because of a flu outbreak that's hitting all of North Texas.
In Dallas County, cases are up 18% in the past week with 133 new hospitalizations.
"This is something that isn't going to go away just by not doing something, by not taking action," said Christian Grisales with Dallas County Health and Human Services. "That's why we are doubling down our efforts to bring the vaccine to the community."
Dallas County Health and Human Services has organized two pop up vaccine drive-thrus for Thursday and Friday.
But the Dallas County Medical Society says the outbreak is getting worse because too many North Texans are now refusing flu shots for the same reason they avoided COVID vaccines.
"I think the COVID hesitancy and then the frustration with multiple COVID vaccines, I think that's bled over into the flu shot, who every year have consistently gotten their flu show some of them have either not gotten around to it or maybe gotten complacent about it," said Dr. Beth Kassanoff-Piper with the Dallas County Medical Society.
Kassanoff says it's not too late to get immunized and that people over 65 risk death by avoiding the shots.
She said doctors are also noticing that a big problem is people who are sick are still going out in public and to work.
"People are not staying home if they don't feel well, they either assume what they have has allergies or they feel like they've missed out on too much fun over the last couple of years and they are going to go out even if they are not feeling great."
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