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Seasonal Flu Vaccination Rates Still Too Low
Date:12/9/2009

More got their shot early, but numbers now same as last year, survey shows

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although the H1N1 pandemic flu has raised public awareness of the flu in general, there has been only a slight increase in the number of people choosing to get a seasonal flu shot, a new report shows.

By the middle of November, only about 32 percent of adults for whom the vaccine is recommended had gotten a shot, according to the survey. Seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for all adults aged 50 and over, people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, as well as health-care workers and people who come into contact with those at risk for flu.

"Health-care professionals and the public really took to heart the advice to both give and get seasonal vaccine early this year," report author Katherine Harris, an economist at RAND Corp., said during a teleconference Wednesday.

"By early September, about three times as many adults had received seasonal influenza vaccine compared to the same time last year," she said. "The early lead had pretty much diminished by mid-November."

The findings are based on a national survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted online between Nov. 4 and Nov. 16 about their vaccination status and related issues.

Among adults not vaccinated at the time of the survey, 17 percent said they planned to get a flu shot, as did 19 percent of those at risk for flu complications.

While the total number of adults getting their seasonal flu shot has remained about the same, adults started getting their shot earlier this year than in the past.

In addition, about 50 percent of health-care workers had gotten a flu shot by the middle of November, which is about the same number of health-care workers who were vaccinated in all of last year's flu season. Still, 39 percent of health-care workers said they did not intend t
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