More than 60% of U.S. population remains unvaccinated against influenza
Although 39.9% of children and 35.2% of adults were vaccinated early in the 2012–13 flu season, efforts are needed increase vaccine coverage in the remaining population.
Although many children and adults were vaccinated against influenza early in the 2012–13 flu season, more than 60% of the U.S. population aged 6 months or older remains unvaccinated, according to results from the CDC National Immunization Survey and National Internet Flu Survey.
Data from the surveys showed the following influenza vaccine coverage rates:
- 36.5% among individuals 6 months or older
- 39.9% among children
- 35.2% among adults
CDC also reported that vaccine coverage estimates were similar to those from the same time period during the 2011–12 influenza season.
Survey data were collected using the National Internet Flu Survey (an Internet panel survey of adults) conducted from November 2–15, 2012, and the National Immunization Survey (telephone survey of parents) from October 4 to November 17, 2012.
For children, CDC noted that early season coverage was similar across racial/ethnic groups. Among adults, influenza vaccine coverage was lower for Hispanic survey participants compared with non-Hispanic white adults and non-Hispanic other or multiple race adults. Influenza vaccine coverage was similar across all other racial/ethnic groups.
Regarding the setting for receiving flu vaccinations, CDC listed "medical locations" as most common and that "retail settings and work places were other important venues for adults."
Noting that more than 60% of Americans have not taken advantage of the protection offered by the influenza vaccine, CDC recommended that individuals receive the vaccine as soon as possible. The agency also recommended that health care providers should encourage vaccination for all patients and make plans to vaccinate their patients and staff, as well as get vaccinated themselves.
"Vaccination providers and immunization programs should work to ensure reminder/recall systems are in place so that everyone is reminded to get a flu shot during the season," CDC added.
The agency also highlighted the need for efforts to decrease disparities in influenza vaccine coverage among adults in other racial/ethnic groups. The agency stated: "Immunization programs should work with leaders in black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities to ensure all members have access to and receive flu vaccination."