U.S. faces highest flu hospitalization rate in a decade with young kids and seniors most at risk
Flu activity across the U.S. has been significant and continues to increase. At the same time, we are seeing a concerning lag in flu vaccination rates based on claims data. Already this season, CDC estimates that there have been upwards of 6.6 million illnesses, 3.3 million medical visits, 48,000 hospitalizations, and 3,600 deaths, including 5 children. These statistics are very worrisome.
Dr. Jose Romero, CDC NCIRD Director, has issued a call-to-action for all of us to spread the word about the importance of flu vaccination this season. Below, please see Dr. Romero’s personal message and join VYF in raising awareness by sharing information from our 2022-23 flu season page as well as our “It’s Not ‘Just’ The Flu” campaign toolkit.
From José R. Romero, MD, FAAP, FAAAS, FIDSA, FPIDS
Director National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Flu activity has been increasing nationally for several weeks, and vaccine uptake has lagged compared to prior seasons. We know that a strong recommendation in favor of vaccination is a key factor in whether patients agree to be vaccinated. I invite you to join CDC in spreading the word about the importance of flu vaccination this season.
Flu activity & vaccine coverage:
- Flu activity is highest in the southeast and south-central parts of the country right now, but we expect flu cases will increase nationally as flu season continues in the coming months.
- While most activity is caused by H3N2 viruses, there’s an increasing proportion of H1N1 viruses.
- After two seasons of relatively little flu and some drops in vaccine coverage, population immunity might be reduced, which could result in more flu illnesses and more serious symptoms this season.
- So far, flu vaccines given to adults in pharmacies and physician offices are 15% lower this season than last season. Coverage among pregnant women is down about 5% compared to this time last season. While coverage among children is about the same as last season, we’ve observed a decline in vaccine rates among children of about 6% over the prior two seasons.
- Reduces flu illness and serious flu outcomes.
- Can result in less severe illness for those who still do get the flu.
- Protects the pregnant parent and baby from flu illness when received during pregnancy.
- Reduces risk of complications from certain chronic conditions.
- Provides protection against four different flu viruses.
CDC recommends that people who have already been sick still get vaccinated to protect against other circulating flu viruses.
I invite you to download our 2022 flu vaccine campaign resources.
If you have any additional questions or would like assistance in your outreach, please email [email protected].
I close with gratitude for your work protecting the health of Americans this flu season.