Screenshot from Dept. of Health website

Screenshot from Dept. of Health website

DOH reports 2022-2023 flu season was the deadliest in five years

Flu vaccination rates for children and preganant people reportedly dropped from pre-pandemic rates.

Following two seasons of low flu activity, the 2022-2023 flu season was the deadliest in five years, according to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

A reported total of 262 Washingtonians died from the flu, including 257 adults and five children — which is a tenfold increase compared to the 2021-2022 flu season.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates as many as 640,000 flu hospitalizations and 57,000 flu deaths occurred between Oct. 1, 2022, and April 29, 2023.

This year’s flu vaccine reduced the risk of influenza A-related hospitalization among children by nearly three-quarters and among adults by nearly half, according to the CDC. Despite vaccine effectiveness, flu vaccination rates have decreased nationally in certain groups. Flu vaccination rates for children dropped more than 6% and rates for pregnant people decreased by nearly 15% compared with pre-pandemic rates.

“While respiratory illness precautions such as masking and social distancing helped keep the number of flu cases low during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important now that most of us are around other people again to get a flu vaccine every year,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “The flu vaccine is your best protection against this serious disease. Even if you get the flu, if you’ve been vaccinated, typically your illness is milder and you aren’t as likely to need to go to the hospital.”

The DOH recommends practicing frequently washing hands, staying home when sick, and wearing masks in crowded spaces also help prevent the spread of the flu. Those most likely to be affected by severe flu disease include people over the age of 65, those who are immunocompromised, people who are pregnant, young children and people with chronic health conditions.

In Washington state, flu activity rose at the end of October and peaked by the end of November, according to the DOH. As of the end of April, there was only minimal flu activity.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent Police catch burglary suspect after pursuit, foot chase

Sunday morning, July 21 on East Hill; officer fires Taser to stop man from fleeing

Sheriff’s Office cuts school resource officers at Kentwood, Kentlake

Lack of staff causes change; district renews Kent Police officer contract at Kent-Meridian, Kentridge

Kent Police arrest woman in domestic violence case after 4-hour standoff

27-year-old woman reportedly attacked husband, father-in-law Monday, July 22

Kent man, 47, under investigation for vehicular assault on SR 509

Wrong-way driver in northbound lanes collided with two vehicles; 6 people injured in Burien crash

9th Congressional District Rep. Adam Smith, 8th Congressional District Rep. Kim Schrier, 1st Congressional District Rep. Suzan DelBene and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell are among Democrats from Washington state who support President Joe Biden’s decision to stop his re-election campaign. Courtesy photos
WA Democrat leaders ‘applaud’ Biden for dropping out of race

Smith, Schrier, DelBene and Cantwell released statements in support of President Biden’s Sunday decision to no longer seek re-election.

Gov. Inslee appoints Pat Sullivan to lead state budget office

Sullivan previously served as House District 47 state representative for Kent, Covington, Auburn

Kent Police seek man who reportedly tried to kidnap girl from apartment

Man allegedly reached into bathroom window to grab girl in attempted kidnapping

Kent Police arrest man, 18, in fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy

Judge finds probable cause to hold the Kent man for murder, attempted murder and robbery

The Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle that handles juvenile detention. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
High-profile juvenile crimes continue to rock Kent this summer

Six incidents in five weeks include fatal shooting, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault

King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
Kent man charged with attempted kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man allegedly try to take girl from apartment complex parking lot

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Kent man receives 8-year sentence in 2021 fatal shooting

Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter in shooting at apartment complex over parking dispute

Courtesy Photo, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Judge finds probable cause to hold Kent man for kidnapping girl

Man, 40, reportedly grabbed 6-year-old girl in East Hill apartment complex parking lot