- Each year approximately 500,000 worldwide die from the flu and its complications
- For decades the technologies used to make flu vaccines have remained static
- Medical research community is trying to develop a so-called universal influenza vaccine
- For now, getting vaccinated each year remains the best way to protect yourself
Editor's note: Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
(CNN) -- During the heat of summer, people tend to forget about the flu. Yet as high temperatures begin to decline, we're reminded that influenza, a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death, will soon return.
For the past several months, pharmaceutical companies and U.S. public health officials have been busy making and planning for the distribution of millions of doses of the flu vaccine to protect Americans in the upcoming season. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new recommendation this week that all children ages 6 months or older be immunized against influenza as soon as the vaccine is available.
Getting vaccinated each year remains the best way to protect yourself against the seasonal flu and lessen the chance you will spread the infection to others.
Despite these efforts, each year between 3,000 and 49,000 people in the United States and approximately 500,000 worldwide die from the flu and its complications.