It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, when public health officials hope to prompt the reluctant or forgetful among us with a reminder that it’s not too late to get the flu shot.
Last season was hyped in the press and at dinner tables as a particularly intense flu season. While it was “relatively bad” according to Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it was not exceptionally so.
“The 2014-15 season was just as bad, if not worse,” Fauci told MD Magazine in January. “Though the perception has been ‘Wow, this is unprecedented,’ in no way is it unprecedented.”
Nonetheless, the CDC estimated that over the 2017-2018 influenza season, 48.8 million people were sick with influenza. This was higher than any season since the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, when and estimated 60 million were infected with the flu. Additionally, hospitalizations due to the flu reached 959,000 and there were 79,400 deaths related to influenza last season, with an estimated 600 deaths in children.