Seasonal Flu Vaccine Coverage Up for Kids

ATLANTA, April 30 (UPI) — There were large increases in seasonal flu coverage for U.S. children and a moderate increase for adults ages 18-49 for 2009-10, health officials said.

Influenza A H1N1 pandemic last April made the 2009-10 influenza increased public awareness of the seriousness of influenza because of the media coverage of pandemic-associated hospitalizations and deaths, especially among youth, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The 2009-10 flu season was the first to implement recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to vaccinate everyone ages 5-18. By Jan. 31, state seasonal influenza vaccination rates for those age 6 months to age 17 ranged from 23.6 percent in Nevada to 67.2 in Hawaii. The median vaccine coverage for this age group was at 40 percent — 16 percentage points higher than the previous flu season 2008-09, the report said.

Median coverage for adults ages 18-49 with high-risk conditions was 38.3 percent — similar to the previous flu season — and ranged from 21.2 percent in Mississippi to 63.4 percent in Minnesota for the high-risk group, the report said. However, in adults ages 18-49 without high-risk conditions seasonal flu coverage was 30 percent higher in 2009-10 than the year earlier.

Seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 45 percent for adults age 50-64 and 68 percent for adults age 65 and older — similar to previous flu seasons, the report said.

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