Flu is a serious respiratory illness that affects millions of Americans each year – and in severe cases, can lead to hospitalization and even death. CDC estimates that annual deaths from flu have ranged from 12,000 to 52,000 from 2010 to 2020. Going into the 2021-2022 flu season, CDC was faced with a unique environment, navigating the continued spread of COVID-19 and looming threat of a “twindemic.”
Flu-related illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths can be prevented with annual flu vaccination, yet vaccination rates dropped significantly during the 2021-2022 season compared with pre-pandemic seasons. Despite being higher risk, flu vaccination lags among adults living with certain chronic conditions. During the 2021-2022 season, preliminary estimates suggested flu vaccine uptake was also down across other higher risk groups, including pregnant people, infants and young children, and adults 65 years and older.