WASHINGTON, DC – Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from the common flu.
It’s a perennial concern of lawmakers who are constantly working to address the preventable and treatable disease.
According to testimony from Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, five children have already died of the influenza virus this year alone.
“It is critical that we continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated every year,” Pallone said at Wednesday hearing.
Bowling Green Congressman Brett Guthrie, a Republican, sits on the committee and says it is in the interest of public health to try to understand why the virus changes every year.
“We are trying to get to the universal flu vaccine because the flu vaccine mutates a little bit. Sometimes it makes a leap forward in its mutation and that’s when you get these pandemic flus. It doesn’t appear that’s happening this year but that could come and how do we prepare as a country to take care of that,” said Guthrie.
During the 2017–2018 season, the vaccines effectiveness was estimated to be about 40 percent overall but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it still prevented over six million illnesses.