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Despite Early Uptake, Seasonal Flu Vaccination Rates are Similar to Last Year
Date:12/9/2009

about nine percent in 2009 versus three percent in 2008. Yet, overall vaccine uptake through mid-November this year was comparable to uptake during the same period last year, based on the percentage of respondents reporting vaccination.

In addition, about half of health care workers had been vaccinated by the middle of November this year, roughly the same proportion that was vaccinated during the entire influenza season last year. Nonetheless, 39 percent of health care workers reported they had no intention of being vaccinated despite the risk of transmitting influenza to patients.

"Health care workers are at the front lines of patient care, so it is critical for them to be vaccinated, not only for their own protection, but for their patients," said William Schaffner, MD, president-elect, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Professor of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University. "These data also draw important attention to the fact that, despite overwhelming expert advice, they are not taking precautions against influenza."

Researchers say the survey was designed to help inform public health officials and others about progress toward vaccinating adults prior to the end of the vaccination season while action can still be taken to improve uptake. The survey is the latest in a series done by RAND and supported by GlaxoSmithKline, a manufacturer of flu vaccine.

The survey found seasonal influenza vaccine availability may be a reason more adults have not been vaccinated. Among those intending to be vaccinated, about 38 percent said there was no vaccine available when they tried to get vaccinated.

"These findings highlight one of the public health challenges that we face in a year when a pandemic influenza virus has made an appearance," Harris said. "The early surge of uptake might be attributed to additional awa
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)
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