New CDC data show that health care workers are lagging behind recommended influenza vaccine rates, with just 67% receiving the shot during the 2011-2012 flu season.
According to Reuters, federal health officials in 2010 expanded vaccine recommendations to cover all healthy adults. However, the new data show that the U.S. flu vaccination rate was 42% during the 2011-2012 flu season, far below CDC's target rates of 80% for individuals ages six months to 65 and 90% for individuals older than age 65.
The data also show that vaccination rates have declined with age, peaking at 75% among infants ages six months to 23 months. Among adults and teens ages 13 to 17, the rates fell to 39% and 34%, respectively. Meanwhile, 47% of pregnant women were vaccinated in 2011, well below CDC's target vaccination rate of 80%.
Among health care workers, hospital physicians and nurses had the highest vaccination rates, at 86.7% and 78.1%, respectively, while nurses at long-term care facilities had the lowest rate, at 50.2%.
HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh warned that there is no guarantee that this flu season would be mild like the last one, noting that "[i]nfluenza is predictably unpredictable." He added, "Even mild seasons can lead to suffering and death. ... People cannot become complacent this season" (Simpson, Reuters, 9/27; Szabo, USA Today, 9/27; Selvam, Modern Physician, 9/27 [subscription required]).
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Daily roundup: Oct. 1, 2012