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

BETHESDA, Md., December 9, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- Seasonal flu vaccination rates among American adults have only slightly improved over last year, despite increased public discussion of the importance of influenza vaccines resulting from the worldwide outbreak of the H1N1 virus. The findings are from a national survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted online between November 4-16, 2009 about their vaccination status and related issues.

As of the middle of November, about 32 percent of all U.S. adults and 37 percent of adults recommended to receive a flu vaccination had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza, according to the survey. Adults recommended to receive a flu vaccination included in the survey were people 50 years of age and older, those with medical conditions that place them at risk for influenza complications (i.e., asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease), health care workers and those who are in close contact with people in high-risk categories. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for about 70 percent of American adults, including these groups.

Among the unvaccinated, the survey also found that 17 percent of all adults and 19 percent of those specifically recommended for vaccination intend to receive the seasonal flu vaccine by the end of the flu vaccination season.

"It does not appear that the increased public discussion of the role of influenza vaccines has had a significant impact on the public's behavior," said Katherine Harris, the study's lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Most of the results from our latest survey look much like those from last year."

One difference from last year noted by the new survey is that more adults began getting the flu vaccine earlier this year. Uptake of the seasonal vaccine during September was nearly three times as high --
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)
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