A Record Number of Influenza Vaccinations Have Been Given This Season

A few days ago, we told you how influenza and other respiratory diseases have been suppressed through the same public health actions against COVID-19. In trying to avoid a “double epidemic,” public health authorities recommended that anyone who could get an influenza vaccine should go ahead and take it. The result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is over 190 million doses given, a record.

Influenza virus electron micrograph

Where Has Influenza Gone?

If you’re an infectious disease geek — and who isn’t these days? — you may have noticed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not sent out any alerts over influenza this influenza season. (In the United States, influenza season is from October to May.) In fact, if you look at CDC’s influenza surveillance reports, it seems that influenza has all but disappeared. You can even drill-down on the data further and see that influenza is active at very low levels across all age groups. So where has influenza gone?

Protein Synthesis Diagram

The History of the mRNA Vaccines

No one woke up on a morning in December and decided that an mRNA vaccine was the way to go without any prior knowledge of the science and technology of mRNA vaccines. That knowledge goes back decades, and there have been many people working on this technology with many companies and governments spending large amounts of money on it. There have been clinical trials on mRNA vaccines not just for the coronavirus but for cancer and other ailments. Little by little, advances were made that brought us to the current vaccine.