Friday, December 9, 2016

Flu Vaccine Coverage Remains Fairly Low

On Friday, December 9th, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that that the rate of vaccine coverage remained fairly low. The director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, states that although a lot of people have gotten coverage, “we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven’t” done so yet. The statistics for coverage this year are at about 40% coverage, which doesn’t seem to be greatly different from last year’s coverage. For the over 50 age group, there is a 3% decrease in coverage from last year and that can be concerning because the elderly are at higher risk for flu risk complications since they have higher rates of other medical conditions. Among pregnant women, the vaccination rate increased but still over half of pregnant women do not get vaccinated. Then for healthcare providers, the rate of coverage didn’t change much from last year and remains at around 69%.

Apart from these statistics, the CDC also released some statistics that show the amount of flu illnesses and hospitalizations that were reduced last year because of the vaccinations. The flu vaccine is estimated to have prevented 5 million flu illnesses, 2.5 million medical visits, and 71,000 hospitalizations. These prevented cases portray a higher health status and also a great amount of prevented healthcare costs. Therefore, the CDC is really trying to continue prevention by encouraging all to get vaccinated and also get influenza antiviral drugs as a second manner to fight the flu. With the main peak of the influenza approaching, let’s hope the vaccination help prevent large outbreaks!

--Jeanette Rios

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