About 6.6 million influenza-associated illnesses, 3.2 million medically attended illnesses, and 79,000 hospitalizations during the 2012-13 flu season were prevented by flu vaccinations, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC also noted that only 40% of Americans aged >6 months reported getting a flu vaccine as of November 2013 (39% of adults and 41% of children).
The report estimated if 70% of the population had been vaccinated last season, an additional 4.4 million flu illnesses, 1.8 million medically attended illnesses, and 30,000 flu hospitalizations could have been prevented. An increase in influenza activity across the country is expected in the coming weeks.
Children aged 6 months–4 years and persons aged >65, who are among those most vulnerable to influenza, comprised an estimated 69% of prevented hospitalizations.
Other online reports indicate that vaccination among pregnant women (41%) and healthcare providers (63%) is similar to this time last year.
Regarding healthcare providers, a higher vaccination rate was found among pharmacists (90%), physicians (84%), and nurses (79%) as compared to assistants or aides (49%), and providers in long-term care facilities (53%).
The CDC’s Anne Schuchat, MD, noted, “The bottom-line is that influenza can cause a tremendous amount of illness and can be severe. Even when our flu vaccines are not as effective as we want them to be, they can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.”
For more information call (800) 232-4636 or visit CDC.gov.