CDC reports that less than half of available doses have been used
THURSDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer Americans have been vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu than health officials had hoped for, despite continued widespread availability of the shot, according to federal reports released Thursday.
Slightly less than 25 percent of the overall population had been vaccinated by the end of January -- about 37 percent of children and 20 percent of adults, according to a survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC also noted that just one-third of people considered at high risk from H1N1 flu -- such as pregnant women, children and young adults, and people with certain medical conditions -- got the vaccine.
Overall, an estimated 72 million to 81 million Americans had been vaccinated against the H1N1 flu as of mid-February, and an estimated 81 million to 91 million doses of the vaccine had been administered.
"In general, this survey describes great success with children and greater success with the ACIP [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] target population than with the general population," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a Thursday news conference. "There was wide variation between states."
Rhode Island had the highest vaccination rate at 39 percent, while Mississippi had the lowest at 13 percent.
"Overall the country did an extraordinary job of responding to this new influenza strain but there is room for improvement going forward," Schuchat said. "If we'd had more vaccine sooner it would have been better."
Still, Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said "the rates are way under where they should be."
"It's as important to get this vaccine as it is to get the seasonal vaccine because H1N1 is
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