This season’s figures show increased hospitalization and mortality rates for younger people than in years past.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this flu season has been one of the worst in recent memory, impacting younger people at a higher than average rate.
People aged 18 to 64 made up 61 percent of all hospitalizations caused by the flu this season – a significant uptick compared to the approximately 35 percent seen in typical years. This year’s season has also claimed more lives within this younger age group than in past years, with over half of influenza-related deaths coming from this demographic (conversely, this same group constituted less than a quarter of all flu-related deaths last year).
CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden recommended annual vaccinations as “the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself."
The CDC estimates that only about a third of people aged 18-64 received a vaccination by November, with about 40 to 45 percent of the US population getting vaccinated each year.
Health officials continue to recommend the flu vaccine for anyone aged 6 months or older.
"I want to remind you that the season is not over," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "There is still a lot of influenza circulating. If you haven't been vaccinated yet, it's not too late for you to benefit."
Alberto González is the Associate Editor of Aleteia’s English edition. His prior endeavors have included working in political campaigns and in the United States Senate. He also maintains an active schedule as a liturgical vocalist and organist.
A native of California, Alberto graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Music and Political Science. He currently lives in the greater Washington, D.C. area.