Every year as flu season approaches, health authorities begin their chorus of warnings about the dangers of getting the flu. As part of their campaign to drum up support for the annual flu vaccine, it is common to hear about the 36,000 people who die every year from flu-related illness. But is this statistic even accurate? According to a recent announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no.
According to the CDC, there is no average number of people who die from the flu because the actual count varies significantly from year to year. Published in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC announcement explains that the actual death count from flu-related illness has been as low as 3,300 in some years, which is far lower than the statistics used in media talking points.
The vast majority of flu-related deaths occur in people over the age of 65. Typically it is not even the flu that kills them, but other illnesses that result at some point after having the flu. But this fact has not stopped the CDC from now recommending that every person over the age of six months get a flu vaccine.