HealthDay News — Despite leading health officials’ recommendations, less than half of American patients received a flu shot in 2013.

“It’s really unfortunate that half of Americans are not getting the protection from flu they could get,” commented Thomas Frieden, MD, director of the CDC, during a news conference.

Just one-third of adult patients aged 18 to 64 years, the age group hit especially hard last flu season, were vaccinated against the flu last year, according to the agency. More than 100 children died from flu-related complications last year, and 90% of those patients were unvaccinated.

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Of the 46% of Americans who received a flu vaccination last year, 59% of children were immunized compared with only 42% of adults. Vaccination coverage was highest among children aged less than five years and adults aged 65 years and older.

The CDC recommends the flu nasal spray vaccine for children, but encourages the use of the shot if the nasal spray isn’t immediately available.