Influenza Vaccination Coverage Remains Inadequate

Improvement for future seasons needed for health care workers and general population
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- While 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) or seasonal influenza vaccination was higher among health care personnel (HCP) than previous seasons, a wide variation in 2009 H1N1 state-specific vaccination rates suggests improvement opportunities in upcoming seasons, according to interim results of two reports published in the April 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A population-based panel survey was issued through the Internet in January 2010 to assess influenza vaccination coverage among a nationally representative sample of 1,417 HCP. By mid-January, the study showed that seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among HCP for the 2009/2010 season was 61.9 percent, but 2009 H1N1 coverage was only 37.1 percent. In addition, only 34.7 percent of HCP reported receiving both vaccines. However, 64.3 percent of HCP received one of the vaccines, representing higher coverage than previous seasons.

In another report, the CDC evaluated results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National H1N1 Flu Survey (NHFS), using data collected during November 2009 through February 2010 to provide preliminary state-specific estimates of 2009 H1N1 vaccination coverage as of the end of January. The report showed, by states, 2009 H1N1 vaccination coverage among persons greater than or equal to 6 months of age ranged from 12.9 to 38.8 percent. Overall, the report showed a wide variation in 2009 H1N1 vaccination state-specific rates among different age groups.

"The wide variation in 2009 H1N1 vaccination rates among states suggests opportunities for improvement in future seasons, such as maintaining and increasing the reach of networks of private providers as vaccinators and distributing more vaccine through public venues (e.g., schools)," according to the report.

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