The 2017 flu vaccine turned out to not be very effective, which is one reason for the sudden increase in flu-related deaths. Getting a flu vaccine will protect not only you, but also your family and co-workers.
Measures introduced by the Health Department a year ago - which included offering the flu jab in pharmacies and rolling out the nasal vaccine to all primary school children - helped cut the number of reported flu cases by half, and Dr Diggle said she hoped the latest moves would build on that success.
"That's huge", Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert, told the outlet.
In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013. That strain tended to send people to the hospital and result in fatalities, particularly among those who are vulnerable, such as young children and the elderly.
Well, public health officials say it's time once again to protect yourself with a flu shot.
She said "kids are more likely to be immunized if their parents are" adding everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot, which is the recommendation of the CDC. That means the vaccine reduced a person's overall risk of having to seek medical care for flu at a doctor's office by 40 percent.
The number is thought to be the highest death toll for the flu since the winter of 1976-77.
The worst flu season on record, historians believe, took place in 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died from the sickness. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.
The vaccine performed better against some strains than others.
Marcelin said health officials can't predict what strains will circulate this year.
More than 42,700 Islanders who fall within these groups will be eligible for vaccines, which will be administered in nurseries, schools, GP surgeries and pharmacies. This means it's best to get the vaccine before flu season begins to have full immune benefits.
"People who make the vaccines are trying to figure out what are the strains that are going to be circulating".
This report contains material from the Associated Press.