According to results from the National Health Interview Survey regarding the two most recent influenza seasons, approximately 84% of all influenza vaccinations were administered during September--November* (Figure). Among persons aged >65 years, the percentage of September--November vaccinations was even higher, at 92% (CDC, unpublished data, 2007).
Each year, on average, approximately 15--60 million persons in the United States are infected with influenza virus; an estimated 200,000 persons are hospitalized from influenza complications, and an estimated 36,000 persons die from those complications (1). Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and potentially severe complications. CDC recommends that anyone who wants to reduce their risk for influenza infection should be vaccinated every influenza season. Annual vaccination is particularly important for the following groups (1).
- persons at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:
--- children aged 6--59 months,
--- pregnant women,
--- persons aged >50 years,
--- persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and
- persons who live with or care for persons at high risk, including:
--- household contacts and caregivers of persons in the above groups,
--- household contacts and caregivers of children aged <6 months (these children also are at high risk for influenza-related complications but are too young to receive influenza vaccination), and
--- health-care workers.