US influenza hospital admissions have hit the highest rate in a decade as vaccinations slump, US officials say.

They said adults have received five million fewer influenza jabs this year compared with the same time last year.

At least 730 people have died of flu this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While older people are the most vulnerable age group, at least four children are among the dead.

This season’s severity has not been matched at this point in the year since the H1N1 swine flu pandemic hit the US in 2009.

“There’s no doubt we will face some challenges this winter,” Dawn O’Connell, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said at a media briefing on Friday. Read more here.

Flu Epidemic Takes Hold in US

The U.S. has “crossed the epidemic threshold” when it comes to flu, federal health officials said Friday, as they outlined plans to deploy troops and FEMA personnel, and supplies like ventilators, if needed, in response to a nationwide surge of respiratory illnesses that also includes RSV and COVID.

Federal officials are monitoring hospital capacity throughout the U.S. and are “standing by to deploy additional personnel and supplies as needed,” Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, said on the call. Read more here.