- Influenza activity was high in 20 states as of Jan. 4—and it's mostly H1N1 cases.
Find out what hospitals are doing to prevent the spread of influenza and manage waves of infected patients.
"The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of flu that's circulating," says Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health.
He adds that Americans have found it "easy to become complacent about the flu…so much so that we forget that it is largely preventable through a quick shot—which I might add is now free to most Americans thanks to the Affordable Care Act."
Who is vaccinated and where do they live?
Vaccination rates were higher among children ages six months to 17 years (56%) and adults ages 65 and older (66%). Still, 830 children died from flu-related complications between 2004 and 2012—43% of whom were "completely healthy otherwise," according to the report.
The report noted significant geographic variation, with 12 states reporting vaccination rates of 50% or higher during the 2012-13 flu season:
- North Carolina;
- Rhode Island;
- South Dakota; and
Meanwhile, 32 states had vaccination rates lower than 40%. Florida had the lowest rate (34%), with Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming not too far behind.