Flu killed 80,000 people last season

In last year's flu season, a record-breaking estimated 80,000 people died and 900,000 people were hospitalized from flu-related complications, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said at a Sept. 27 news conference presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

In preparation for the upcoming flu season, Dr. Adams and a panel of medical and public health experts discussed the importance of annual flu prevention. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu each year.

During the 2017-2018 season, 180 influenza deaths in children were reported to CDC, exceeding the previously recorded high of 171 for non-pandemic flu seasons. This number may be higher since not all flu-related deaths are reported. About 80 percent of reported pediatric deaths occur in children not fully vaccinated against the flu.

About 70 percent of the estimated hospitalizations and 90 percent of deaths occurred in adults age 65 years and older, according to the CDC.

The agency estimates about 78 percent of healthcare workers were vaccinated during last year's flu season.

For the 2018-2019 season, vaccine manufacturers estimate up to 168 million doses of the flu vaccine will be available in the U.S. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is available on the CDC website.

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