Approximately 2 of 5 individuals in the United States have received the influenza vaccine this season as of early November, according to recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC collected survey data through early November 2016 and found that vaccination levels are similar to this time last season. Overall, about 40% of people have reported receiving an influenza vaccine, including 37% of children between 6 months and 17 years of age and 41% of adults older than 18 years of age.
“We are glad to see that people are making the decision to protect themselves and their families from flu, but coverage is still low and we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven’t yet,” stated Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We have a tool that is proven to prevent flu illness and hospitalization, but millions of people are not taking advantage of it. Too many people are unprotected.”
Although the vaccine estimates for adults and children are similar to the rates from last year, the CDC is looking carefully at rates for children and for adults older than 50 years of age. The CDC observed a 3 percentage point decrease in vaccine coverage among adults older than 50 years of age between the 2014 to 2015 season and the 2015 to 2016 season.
The agency notes that one-third of individuals between 50 and 64 years of age have a medical condition that increases the risk of influenza complications, and individuals older than 65 years of age have declined immune function that puts them at higher risk of infection.
The CDC also surveyed pregnant women and healthcare workers and found that vaccination among pregnant women (47%) is 6 percentage points higher than early estimates of last season, but more than half of pregnant women remain unvaccinated. In addition, vaccination among healthcare providers is about the same as it was last season (69%). The vaccination rate among healthcare workers in long-term care facilities is 55%, which is the lowest percentage among all healthcare providers.
“It is really important that healthcare workers get vaccinated and especially important that we continue to make progress vaccinating healthcare workers who work in long-term care facilities,” Dr Messonnier stated. “Many of the most frail and vulnerable people live in these facilities, and we know that vaccinating their caregivers helps protect them.”
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu vaccine coverage remains low this year [press release]. Published December 9, 2016. Accessed December 14, 2016.